Commentary

One-Third Of Marketers Still Struggle With How To Use Data

Most search marketers at least dabble in social advertising and marketing, but all types of marketers across 19 verticals continue to face challenges that prohibit them from reaping the greatest results from their data, according to a recent study.

About 46% of the hundreds of marketers -- not just those focused on social -- that are supplying insights to compile the results from Unified's study between November 2016 and December 2016 admit to having little to no transparency into their total spend or breakdown of spend by channel across their brands.

Although half of the survey's respondents were directors or in higher positions, many cited the data used to advertise on social sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as labor intensive and littered with errors.

Some 51% of marketers said they have little to no transparency into the solutions that work best, and 52% said they have little to no transparency into the dollars spent on specific brands within their portfolio.

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While 56% say they have little to no insight into social advertising performance trends and return on investments for their campaigns, 60% have little to no insight into how their campaigns perform against benchmarks, and 60% have little to no ability to easily share the performance analytics data they do have with other team members.

About 29% of marketers agree that more data is better, but 36% struggle to use it correctly because they don't know how to turn the data into actions. About 38% do not know how to "normalize" the data and make it useable, and 35% lack the technical expertise to properly implement business intelligence (BI) platforms for social advertising to gain the needed insights.

The study's findings also point out that as tools become more sophisticated and marketers are forced to change and adapt, it has become more difficult to keep up with changes. One in three marketers leverage between four and 10 different buying tools or platforms, and one in four marketers leverage between four and 10 buying platforms or partners to market their brands.

Technology seems to be reversing a trend that began several years ago to combine data in one location across multiple silos. More marketers say data is become more, not less, fragmented across silos. When marketers were asked to score the importance of these issues, 67% cited the importance to understand creative and targeting performance at a granular level is somewhat to extremely important, and 58% said having one view is extremely important.

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