Marketers forced to guess best performing channels

disciplines nThe UK’s most influential marketing chiefs have admitted to a deep mistrust of the accuracy of campaign performance data available to them – across key channels from online to TV – with many reduced to guessing when making crucial decisions about the use of their budgets.

That is the damning conclusion of a new survey conducted by independent marketing agency QueryClick, which quizzed 150 marketing leaders at online retailers, and reinforces fears that current systems are simply not fit for purpose.

One of the starkest findings is that four-fifths (80%) of marketers believe Facebook and Google falsely inflate returns on advertising spend. This has compounded by the fact that almost half (43%) of marketing believe the data from their analytics platforms is “not very accurate”.

Three-quarters (75%) of retail marketers spend comparatively large amounts on Google and Facebook advertising yet are very concerned about how to grow revenue from these platforms thanks to channel saturation. This presents a sizable issue to the retail industry, especially when it comes to determining how to spend budgets to deliver ROI.

But it is not just online data that is failing marketers. With Nielsen having pre-emptively suspended its own industry accreditation following pressure from the Video Advertising Bureau due to the provision of inaccurate data, the ability of marketing and advertising decision makers has been reduced even further.

Furthermore, over 60% of respondents believe data to support cross-channel decision making to be broken. In fact, a 2019 study by QueryClick found that up to 80% of the data in common analytics packages, including those from Google and Adobe, is wrong.

However, with 98% of survey respondents considering attribution to be at least ‘somewhat important’, and almost all stating attribution is a consideration when choosing their CRM platforms, marketers currently risk catastrophic mismanagement of budgets, the study claims.

This risk will become even more apparent with the impending removal of third-party cookies, which means that advertisers will have to use owned first-party data (rather than that supplied by others) to target ads at the right audience to be effective.

QueryClick founder and chief executive Chris Liversidge said that while the focus is on Nielsen at the moment, due to its admission of failure to offer credible measurement for traditional TV, the real issue is much larger: the industry has known for some time that all marketing has become unmeasurable using existing systems.

He added: “The fact is digital marketing data is broken – and it always has been since the very first digital ad was served and reported on using these systems. Given there will be nearly £20bn spent digitally by advertisers in the UK alone this year, that’s an appalling state of affairs.

“It is good that advertisers are demanding better data – they have a right to expect better from the marketing industry given there are now proven technologies to replace those broken systems and offer a fair and accurate picture of how their media spend really performs.

“There are alternatives in the marketplace to allow marketers to show operational and fiscal effectiveness. Rebuilding online data using AI and machine learning can now show the true value of every marketing touchpoint online and off. This eliminates today’s inaccuracies and enables marketers to understand the value of each marketing channel, campaign, ad or even individual impression, empowering them to make better decisions.”

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