Advertisers Still Lack Digital Maturity

Optimization and personalization have never led the list of top priorities for advertisers, especially in North America -- until now. It's about their digital maturity. More than half of North American organizations that Adobe surveyed admit they are on the path to digital maturity, but it's clear this has become a slow road to tow.

Only 34% of companies participating in the survey admit to using retargeting or remarketing tools, with another 53% saying they plan to use the tools within the next three years, according to the Adobe Digital Marketing Survey results from the Four Essential Elements for digital maturity report.

Measurement and optimization tactics vary. Only 39% use on-site search, with 49% planning to use it within the next three years. Web analytics has the highest use. Some 74% of those participating in the survey say they currently use Web site analytics, and 83% say they plan to still use it within the next three years.

Attribution modeling is way down on the list when it comes to measurement and optimization tactics. Some 18% say they currently use the tools, whereas 34% say they plan to use them within the next three years.

Most marketers believe they are making progress, but few claim they reached their goal. Only 19% of North American organizations and 7% or European companies surveyed rate their digital maturity as "advanced," which the study defines as "data mostly integrated, best practices generally followed, automation common, strong technical skills"

Although few can claim "advanced" digital maturity, companies are making progress. About 48% of companies said they would increase their budget for mobile during the next 12 months, up from 39% in 2015. Analytics rose to 47%, up from 31%; optimization, 43% vs. 32%; social marketing, 42% vs. 35%; and content marketing 41% vs. 35%, respectively.

About 58% of "digitally advanced companies" use real-time data to augment data-driven marketing efforts. Some 58% use integration of analytics data across Web, mobile Web, and mobile app channels, whereas 48% use predictive analytics to augment data driven marketing efforts, and 66% use audience definition segments to augment data-driven marketing.

Despite a lack of digital maturity, digital efforts are paying off, with 81% of brands participating in Adobe's survey admit efforts have differentiated their company from the competition, and 91% say automation has led to an improvement of key performance indicators on Web sites.

The Adobe report also notes that half of all organizations now use data to drive their digital marketing decisions to help deliver relevant content. It breaks down the maturity into four elements: data-driven marketing, customer experience, mobile, and cross-channel marketing.

The study shows that digitally mature organizations are quite a bit further ahead in their use of data, which helps advertisers better understand consumer behavior. Analytics is core for any company seeking digital maturity. They use data as the foundation of their targeting and cross-channel strategies.

While Web site analytics tops the list for "planning to use" tools for both North American and European companies, the biggest disparity between current use and planned use is predictive analytics. Only 27% of North American companies and 10% of European companies say they use predictive analytics. Some 45% of North American companies and 39% of European companies say they plan to use predictive analytics.

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