The past twenty years have seen an unbelievable period of technological innovation that has disrupted the way we live, work and play.
Twenty years ago, Google introduced search engine marketing and brought us greater reach than ever before. Since then, LinkedIn (2002), Twitter (2007) and Snapchat (2011) changed the ecosystem with social media. And in 2009, real-time bidding (RTB) upended how online display advertising is bought and sold.
Today, we have access to more information, consumers are making smarter buying decisions, and marketers have amassed greater quantities of data than ever before. New technology has transformed many industries permanently, perhaps none so much as marketing.
Consider these stats:
- In 2010, the average buyer checked five sources before making a purchase. By 2013, that number had grown to twelve.
- Today’s consumers average nearly three hours a day on mobile.
- 25 percent of consumers use three devices daily; more than 79 percent of consumers switch devices mid-activity.
- YouTube viewers watch more than 1 billion hours of videos a day, nearly surpassing TV viewership.
Instead of a one-way funnel from brand to consumer, the era of the conversation has begun. An increasing array of channels, devices and platforms have splintered mass communication into thousands of niche outlets, each catering to a specific audience.
Digital marketing – search, organic and paid search, email, social, and video -- now work alongside traditional channels such as print, radio, TV, yellow pages and outdoor ads to reach consumers.
Continuous growth in the digital space has dramatically changed how consumers interact with brands. The proliferation of new channels and devices has created a complex environment and new opportunities.
Opportunity 1: New Ways to Reach Consumers
Brands can now reach consumers through multiple channels, devices and platforms using a variety of tools and technologies. This allows marketers to target consumers more precisely with more personalized, relevant information than ever before.
Opportunity 2: New Ability to Track Consumers
Online, everyone leaves digital footprints behind that show who they are, what they like and how they behave. This “addressable” trail has given rise to a new generation of people-based marketing and the ability to drive meaningful experiences with consumers across channels and devices.
Opportunity 3: New Methods to Measure Performance
Marketers who leverage addressable marketing and media channels can take advantage of multi-touch attribution (MTA). This advanced method of measuring marketing and media effectiveness assigns credit for a given success metric to the touchpoints and dimensions (campaign, placement, publisher, creative, offer, etc.) along the consumer journey for an accurate picture of what’s working, and what isn’t.
Navigating the Tangled Digital Path
These opportunities are made possible by a new category of addressable channels. These channels allow marketers access to track touchpoints in the consumer journey via individual, user-level data.
Estimates of how many people might have seen your message have given way to knowing the location, device, time, browser, and action of every consumer touchpoint online. With greater access to data about consumer behavior, marketing has transformed from an art to a science. We’ve moved from “spray and pray” to targeting with the precision of a surgeon.
But the initial euphoria of digital marketing has given way to some sobering realities. We’ve learned these channels exist in silos. That it’s incredibly difficult to follow customers and prospects across multiple channels and devices, and even harder to find out which marketing and advertising is effective.
A recent Columbia Business School study found that only 45 percent of organizations are satisfied with their measurement of marketing ROI.
Being able to reach and engage your best customer as they move along a tangled digital path requires sophisticated understanding of tools and tactics and clear strategy and vision. But the strategies and technologies that marketers have relied on for years to target, analyze and optimize their marketing and advertising campaigns have not evolved fast enough to keep pace with these demands.
To truly understand the value of each consumer interaction with your brand, it’s not enough to count impressions, eyeballs or measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing using the consumer’s last interaction with your brand (i.e. last-touch metrics). You need to know the effectiveness of each marketing touchpoint in every consumer journey regardless of where those touchpoints occur.
What worked twenty, ten or even five years ago won’t meet your needs today. Don’t miss out on the new digital opportunities to reach, track, and measure today’s empowered consumer.
Download our ebook Crossing the New Digital Divide: Your Guide to Marketing Effectiveness in the Digital Era to learn more about how digital has changed marketing and how you can take advantage of new opportunities.
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