Analytics and Optimization Budgets Are Growing Rapidly. Which Tactics Are Important?

October 3, 2016

adobe-adoption-planned-use-measurement-optimization-tactics-oct2016Digital marketers are increasing their spending on mobile, content and social – but those areas fail to match the increases set for analytics and optimization, according to an Adobe survey [download page]. Some 47% of respondents in North America plan to hike their analytics budgets over the next 12 months, up from just 31% last year.

Likewise, 43% of digital marketers from North America plan to increase their optimization budgets in the coming year, up from 32% with such plans last year.

The survey was fielded among 735 digital marketers from the US, Canada, UK, France and Germany, finding that the use of analytics is a hallmark of digitally advanced companies. For example, among the fraction of digital marketers who rate their digital maturity as “advanced:”

  • 58% use integration of analytics data across web, mobile web and mobile app channels;
  • 48% use predictive analytics to augment data-driven marketing efforts;
  • 65% plan to use predictive analytics; and
  • 62% plan to use mobile app analytics.

Or as the report’s analysts put it, “analytics is a core discipline for any company seeking digital maturity.”

[SPONSORED Survey Report: How Analytics Can Create More Personalized Experiences]

As such, it’s worth looking at the measurement and optimization tactics that are currently being used by digital marketers in the US and Europe, as well as those planned to use.

The most popular tactic – unsurprisingly – is website analytics, used by 74% of respondents. While it’s clearly ahead of the pack, some other tactics are hovering around the 50% adoption mark: A/B testing (53%); email optimization (47%); and social media analytics (47%).

By contrast, few digital marketers are currently using tactics including predictive analytics (15%), omnichannel analytics (14%), automated recommendations (13%), automated behavioral targeting (12%) and algorithmic attribution (10%).

Fast forward 3 years, though, and some of these may see more use. For example, 44% of respondents plan to use predictive analytics within the next 3 years. B2B companies may be leading the charge in this area: recent research suggests that it’s the tool that senior B2B marketers most want to focus on in the coming year. (A lot more on predictive analytics here.)

Indeed, 96% of digitally mature companies believe that predictive marketing will be important or very important in the next 3 years. (An equal proportion say the same about attribution modeling, which needs help in Europe.)

Digital marketers also have eyes for ROI measurement and customer journey analytics, per the survey results. Almost 6 in 10 (57%) plan to be using each of these tactics within the next 3 years, up from just one-third currently using. The importance of ROI measurement probably doesn’t need further reinforcing in today’s climate… As for customer journey analysis, it is being credited as one of the rising forces of conversion rate optimization. (Find the components of the customer journey being tracked by top-performing companies here.)

Organizations are using various approaches to augmenting data-driven marketing. Most commonly, they use CRM data (66%), though audience definition (48%) is also popular, particularly among European companies. Fewer are integrating analytics across channels (40%) and using real-time data from analytics (38%), though this is comparatively more common in the US than in Europe.

In other highlights from the report:

  • Overall, mobile (51%), automation (46%) and analytics (45%) are the areas for which the largest share of digital marketers expect budget increases over the next 12 months;
  • 92% of organizations find it very important (62%) or somewhat important (30%) to invest in or improve content marketing capabilities over the next 3 years;
  • North American digital marketers are trailing the overall average in their use of responsive design websites (53% vs. 69%), and mobile websites (30% vs. 32%), but are ahead in their use of mobile applications (50% vs. 45%) and adaptive websites (30% vs. 24%);
  • The biggest cross-channel priorities in the next 12 months are campaign orchestration, creating a connected experience, and managing the customer journey; and
  • Almost half (46%) of respondents invested in responsive emails (46%) during the past year, while 43% invested in email content personalization and 24% in dynamic email content.

About the Data: From March 2016, through the first part of June 2016, Adobe surveyed 735 digital marketers in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, and Germany to learn their current priorities and tactics, as well as their plans for the future. Industries surveyed included business-to-business high tech, financial services, media and entertainment, professional services, retail and commerce, travel and hospitality, and others.

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