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Marketers can tend to feel that they have an easier time measuring ROI for digital than offline channels. After all, measurability is one of the key attractions of digital marketing. Yet that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily easy. In a new survey from Ascend2 [download page], improving the measurability of digital marketing results emerges as one of the most challenging barriers to success of a digital strategy.

It may be that marketers aren’t throwing too many resources behind this endeavor, though. Improving measurability falls behind several other strategic digital marketing priorities. Likewise, a survey released earlier this year found that ROI or measurability was not a leading driver of brands’ digital investments.

Instead, the chief strategic priority for digital marketing is to increase sales prospects and leads, which the survey’s respondents – most of whom have a B2B component – put as a larger priority than increasing customer acquisition.

Another digital marketing priority for respondents is increasing customer engagement, which separately emerges as their most challenging barrier to digital marketing success.

Overall, improving result measurability is a greater hindrance than priority for the survey’s respondents, while boosting leads and customers seems to a larger priority than barrier.

Content and SEO Get the Nod

When asked the most effective online tactics used in a digital marketing strategy, respondents pointed to content marketing (58%) first, with SEO (50%) and email (47%) following. Social media marketing (30%) was at the bottom of this list, a somewhat surprising result given that a survey late last year from Ascend2 found respondents expecting social to be their most effective marketing tactic this year.

By far the most difficult tactic of those identified, meanwhile, is data-driven personalization. These efforts remain largely limited to email at this time, as marketers have struggled to move beyond basic personalization.

The full report is available for download here.

About the Data: The Ascend2 survey was conducted in October 2018 among 190 marketing influencers. More than half (58%) said that B2B was their primary marketing channel, and another 23% said they target B2B and B2C equally. The remaining quarter (19%) count B2C as their primary marketing channel.

About one-quarter (26%) of respondents come from companies with more than 500 employees, and 6 in 10 from companies with at least 50 employees.

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