Commentary

Omnichannel Strategies Still Baffle Many Marketers


There is a stark difference between consumer engagement and increased marketing investments across multiple channels that are connected.

Changes in consumer behavior and advancements in technology continue to drive marketers to omnichannel strategies. This is not new, but recent data from Xaxis, a GroupM and WPP company, suggests that omnichannel strategies provide more opportunities for marketers.

“The industry still isn’t as close to the consumer-driven advertising model as we should be,” said Kerry Curran, executive director, GroupM. “The external and internal barriers and challenges continue. We need to get to the point of being able to optimize to business-level KPIs and omni-level adoption.”

Omnichannel are multiple channels that connect vs multichannels that standalone. 

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Curran had hoped to see from the data that the barriers were resolved, but they were not. The adoption rate has not kept up with demand, and it is also not as age-driven as once thought to be. Many studies suggest younger adults are more open to a variety of channels. As it turns out, the behavior of those who grew up with the internet are not that different from those who did not.

It’s not about spreading budgets thin to reach these consumers, but doing so across more channels in a variety of ways.

For example, there is a difference between how marketers invest in search and how many people are online.

The percentage of customers using search at least weekly -- at 91% -- is double the percentage of marketers who are increasing spend -- at 46%. The study also suggests that 67% of marketers think their search spend is about right.

Budgets are not always aligned with the potential of the channel. “Brands have not recognized the potential of investments in search beyond direct response, despite consumers still using search for everything,” Curran said.

There is also a noticeable under-investment for in-game advertising, although 40% of respondents in the 35-54 age group say they increased the time they spend on gaming platforms.

The data also suggests that 51% of consumers increased their engagement with digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising, but only 34% of marketers increased their investment across the channel.

Despite the need to integrate channels, marketers face numerous barriers. The major barriers to channel integration are siloed organizational structures, disconnected technology, lack of data-science skills, and challenges around attribution.

The research found that siloed organizational structures at 40%, disconnected technology at 40%, challenges around attribution at 38%, and lack of data-science skills at 38% remain the major barriers.

Challenges around siloed agencies -- at 31% -- and reduced tracking due to privacy concerns -- at 27% -- are more likely to be seen as minor barriers.

Some 82% of marketers agree that their campaigns for search, social and programmatic are integrated.

Respondents also identified programmatic as a valuable tool driving marketing investments.

More than half of respondents said they have shifted budgets to programmatic tools such as audio advertising, in-game advertising and traditional out-of-home (OOH) advertising.

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