Digital Not Living Up To Its Promise, Say Marketers

According to a 2014 Millward Brown Digital Study, current digital advertising spending trends show that digital marketers fairly evenly allocate budgets across ad formats. However, the majority of digital marketers say that digital advertising hasn’t lived up to its promise and feel that branding ads bought via programmatic methods raise concerns. They are searching for the best way to connect with consumers on an emotional level to bridge the delta between the branding promise of digital and real-world success.

While almost 60% of digital advertising dollars this year have a direct response objective, per eMarketer, who also expects that by 2017, digital advertising dollars will be almost equally split between branding and direct response objectives. Marketers do indeed indicate a strong shift from direct response to branding, but, as a new study from Millward Brown Digital attests, digital marketers aren’t yet confident that digital is delivering as a branding vehicle.

Only 50% of marketers say they somewhat/strongly agree with this statement: “Digital held promise for brand marketers, but for all its promise, it has never delivered as a branding vehicle.”

Digital Has Never Delivered As A Branding Vehicle

Degree of Agreement

% of Respondents

Strongly disagree

6%

Somewhat disagree

22%

Neither agree nor disagree

21%

Somewhat agree

31%

Strongly agree

19%

Source: Millward Brown Digital, June 2014

Despite that, the flow of money to digital branding ads continues. Some 94% said they will increase their digital branding ad budgets in the next year; 42% will increase their spending by more than 20%.

How Much Digital Marketers Will Increase Their Digital Branding Ad Budgets In The Next Year:

  • 7% will increase it more than 51%
  • 7% will increase it by 41-50%
  • 11% will increase it by 31-40%
  • 18% will increase it by 21-30%
  • 34% will increase it by 11-20%
  • 18% will increase it by less than 10%
  • 2% don’t know if they will increase it
  • 2% won’t increase it

Source: Millward Brown Digital, June 2014The study reports the digital marketers’ annual budgets for all digital ad spending.

Total Annual Marketing Budget Across All Digital Marketing Channels

Current Total Budgets

% of Respondents

$1-$10M

12%

$10-$50M

24%

$50-$100M

23%

$100-$500M

19%

$500M+

17%

Total Digital

5%

Source: Millward Brown Digital, June 2014

The report identifies the digital ad formats Digital marketers utilize. Only 37% run emotionally targeted in-game branding ads. This includes when a player gets a new high score or needs help. Currently, the most popular ad formats used by respondents are:

Add Formats Digital Marketers Utilize

Ad Format

% of Respondents

Social media ads

77%

Email marketing

73%

Native advertising

68%

Mobile website ads

61%

In-app mobile apps

55%

Ads bought through programmatic methods

52%

Paid search marketing (SEM)

51%

SMS/MMS text ads

48%

In-game ads

43%

Ads bought directly from a publisher

39%

Emotionally targeted In-game branding ads

37%

Source: Millward Brown Digital, June 2014

The study specifically questioned respondents on the digital ad formats that are most effective in meeting their branding objectives. The report says it’s not surprising that social ads top that list, since advertisers have said that branding is the main goal of social ads. For the purposes of this study, then, respondents are noting their experience with branding objectives.

A majority of respondents said that their branding objectives are promoting their products or services, increasing purchase intent, and promoting their website, unique landing page or mobile/tablet app.

Key Branding Objectives

Objective

% of Respondents

Promote your products or services

62%

Increase purchase intent

57%

Promote your website, unique landing page or mobile/tablet app

54%

Drive advertising awareness

49%

Make an emotional connection with consumers

48%

Add value for your customers

48%

Drive engagement

47%

Driving trials of a new product or service

36%

Drive completed video views

28%

Source: Millward Brown Digital, June 2014

Finally, according to the report, marketers point out their greatest challenges when developing and deploying digital advertising campaigns.

Challenges in Deploying Digital Campaigns

Challenge

% of Respondents

Knowing where to begin to optimize and improve our advertisements

40%

Getting ROI from our mobile advertising/marketing programs

36%

Analyzing digital advertising campaign results

33%

Digital advertising on online, social media and mobile devices is annoying to consumers

31%

Programmatic ad buying produces negative customer experiences that damage brand loyalty or negate our branding objectives in other ways

30%

Declining response rates (e.g. campaign performance)

28%

They don't work for engagement, branding, or developing an emotional connection with people

23%

Lack of budget

21%

Consumers don't look at the ads on websites, mobile devices and etc.

32%

Source: Millward Brown Digital, June 2014

And, among the greatest challenges when developing and deploying digital advertising campaigns bought through ad exchanges or agency trading desks, known as programmatic ad buying, 37% of respondents start with “banner blindness” as a concern when buying branding ads programmatically.

Concerns with Programmatic Buying

Concern

% of Respondents

Banner blindness*

37%

Viewability

15%

Quality of inventory

15%

Fraudulent traffic

13%

Click fraud

10%

Ad collision (multiple ads on same page)

8%

Source: Millward Brown Digital, June 2014; *Banner blindness: when visitors to a website, mobile website or mobile app consciously or subconsciously ignore banner-like or advertising information

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3 comments about "Digital Not Living Up To Its Promise, Say Marketers".
  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston , July 9, 2014 at 7:17 a.m.
    One should not be surprised that marketers weaned on old-fashioned marketing are uncomfortable with modern-day marketing. Perception is not reality, but it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  2. Bob Gordon from The Auto Channel , July 9, 2014 at 11:50 a.m.
    Love (of social advertising) is blind
  3. Brett Smith from RTB Forums , July 10, 2014 at 1:29 p.m.
    This is the second time MediaPost has given credence to this biased survey. Here's a deeper dive into the survey numbers by yours truly: http://www.rtbforums.com/blog/defending-programmatic-against-surveys-and-skepticism-weekly-wrap-up/