Digital Marketers Leave Optimization Opportunities Unexplored

June 4, 2012

adobe-optimization-budgets-june2012.jpgDigital marketers are not taking full advantage of the conversion opportunities presented by data-driven optimization, finds an Adobe survey released in May 2012. Indeed, despite spending high amounts of money and energy acquiring traffic, marketers are not following through by devoting significant funds to optimization strategies that can increase their returns. In fact, 81% of the more than 1,700 digital marketers surveyed reported spending 15% or less of their marketing budgets on optimization activities. And beyond this lack of investment, many are also not exploiting critical opportunities: 53% are not optimizing the relevance of their on-site search results, and 52% say that testing consumer engagement is not a priority at their organization.

The report defines optimization as taking action on rich data and content to deliver the highest return on marketing spend and efforts.

Website, Social Media Analytics Top Strategies

adobe-top-intended-optimization-strategies-june2012.jpgData from Adobe’s “2012 Digital Marketing Optimization Survey” indicates that the chief data-driven strategies that digital marketers plan to turn to in the next year for their optimization efforts are website analytics (68%) and social media analytics (56%). Perhaps recognizing the need for a comprehensive set of tactics, many are also looking at profile targeting (40%), mobile analytics (35%), testing (33%), and social sharing (31%).

At the other end of the spectrum, attribution modeling (8%) and automated recommendations (18%) are not drawing much attention from respondents.

On-Site Search Needs Improvement

On-site search is an integral aspect of guiding consumers through the conversion funnel, yet many digital marketers are ignoring its potential. Indeed, less than 1 in 5 are optimizing the relevance of their on-site search results through visitor profile information, use of automated business rules, and behavioral activity.

Additionally, when asked how effectively their search displays results based on a number of criteria, a significant proportion of respondents reported not even using criteria such as top rated content/products (41%), targeted results based on user profile (58%), product or service availability (47%), promotions (49%), and customizable business metrics (KPIs – 63%).

Page Layouts Most Effective at Increasing Conversion Rates

Although many marketers are not testing consumer engagement, those who do report the most positive conversion rate increases from testing page layouts, with 39% citing this variable among their top 3. Other testing variables that marketers have found effective include photos/images (26%), offers/promotions (25%), and page copy (22%). Interestingly, social sharing – such as by way of social sharing icons on pages – was only chosen by 9% of respondents. This despite results from a Social Labs survey from March showing that social shares can play an important role in the purchase funnel for online shoppers.

Other Findings:

  • The majority of Adobe survey respondents report that marketing executives determine the promotion/marketing content displayed on their sites and in their marketing communications.
  • 28% of respondents said their on-site search displays results very effectively based on keyword matching. This was a far higher percentage than said the same about other criteria such as top rated content/products (15%) and promotions (12%).
  • Product or content recommendations are most often based on top selling products/most popular content (33%) and newly available content (also at 33%).
  • The largest proportion of digital marketers are displaying product or content recommendations on product and articles pages (47%), home pages (45%), and category pages (38%).
  • Only 5% of the respondents describe their testing process as being sophisticated.
  • Landing pages (41%), home pages (33%), and paid search (29%) are the top areas in which marketers are conducting online tests. 38% are not conducting any.

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