Marketers More Confident Measuring ROI From Paid Search & Email Than Other Digital Channels

April 5, 2017

Measuring the ROI of marketing and advertising efforts has been a consistent obstacle for some time, brought to light by greater pressures from the C-suite to prove marketing’s value. Digital advertising – for all its growth – hasn’t been spared this challenge, but some channels seem easier to measure than others. Indeed, respondents to SEMPO’s latest State of Search Report seem relatively confident in their ability to measure the ROI from paid search and email.

Marketers were asked to identify the greatest challenges in managing their digital marketing efforts across various channels. Measuring ROI emerged as the top challenge for SEO, social media, and display, in each case outpacing other challenges such as getting budget and hiring talent.

When it came to paid search, though, measuring ROI was almost an afterthought, with integration, budgets and landing pages proving to be bigger challenges. In fact, of the 5 challenges identified, only hiring talent was a lesser challenge for paid search marketing efforts.

It was a similar – if slightly different story – for email. Integration emerged as the greatest challenge in managing email marketing efforts for client marketers, with content generation and ROI measurement closely bunched but trailing.

It’s interesting to compare these results with research released last year by Econsultancy, in which primarily European in-house marketers were similarly asked to rate their confidence in measuring ROI from a number of channels. In that study, paid search was also the channel that marketers were most confident in, with email marketing again following. Spot the trend?!

It’s worth noting that agency/consultant respondents to the SEMPO survey seem to face a different set of challenges. For these respondents, getting budget was the top issue for each of the channels tracked, with ROI a secondary concern to that.

Social Media Advertising on the Rise

There have been several pieces of research (including our own) tracking the rising influence of social media ads on consumers’ purchase decisions. Part of that conversation surely has to be the growing amount of marketers’ dollars going to social ads, and the SEMPO study provides more evidence of just that.

In this latest edition, more than two-thirds of marketer respondents reported advertising on social media, marketing a big jump from 57% the previous year. This was easily the biggest increase of any activity, with others either remaining largely stagnant or seeing minor declines.

The same increase was observed for agency respondents, 76% of whom reported using social ads, up from 65% the previous year.

For both client marketers and agencies, social media advertising is now as – or more popular – than digital display marketing. This increase could be seen across social properties; while Facebook ads and Facebook Promoted Posts are the most common social ad vehicles, LinkedIn ads, Twitter Promoted Tweets, YouTube ads, Instagram ads, and others are also seeing a rise in popularity.

About the Data: Conducted in late 2016, the 2016 survey was completed by nearly 500 in-house marketer and agency respondents. The SEMPO Research Committee promoted the survey to their respective audiences, offering a complimentary copy of the report as the incentive for taking part.

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