Digital marketers spend less than 5 per cent on optimising

New Adobe Digital Marketing Optimisation study outlines the lack of investment into marketing optimisation strategies despite strong returns from such activities

More than half of digital marketers spend less than five per cent of their budget on optimisation activities despite growing signs these lift customer conversion rates, a new report claims.

Adobe’s new 2013 Digital Marketing Optimisation Survey found 86 per cent of all respondents allocate 15 per cent of less of their marketing budget to optimisation activities from search to content, and 53 per cent allocate under five per cent.

At the other end of the scale, just three per cent of companies allocate at least half their marketing budget to optimisation efforts. All results represented a dip on 2012 survey comparisons. The latest survey report was based on responses from 1800 digital marketers across the US, Europe and Asia.

While optimisation remains low on the list of priorities for digital marketers, its effects are significant, Adobe’s survey claimed. Companies who invested more than 25 per cent of their marketing budget on such activities were found to be twice as likely to enjoy higher levels of conversion rates. The average site conversion rate sits at below one per cent, but rose to five per cent or more for the 39 per cent of those who spend more than a quarter of their budget on this area, Adobe claimed.

Among the challenges stopping digital marketers from conducting optimisation activities are access to best-of-breed technology, the right processes in place within the organisation, and the right skill set across the marketing team.

The survey also found nearly half of respondents don’t see testing as a priority at their company, while 11 per cent said testing had been adopted as a form of decision-making company-wide. This was despite proven conversion rate improvements when testing was core to activities. Among the difficulties cited are budget constraints, resource availability, knowing how to test effectively and determining the significance of test results.

“Companies should start with small wins and grow from there,” the report authors advised. “It’s about optimising every interaction and every conversion event that move the customer to the end goal. In fact, failed tests are just as impactful in the lessons learned.”

The survey also looked at the importance of targeted and unique content and found 51 per cent of companies have their promotional or marketing content chosen by marketing executives. According to 87 per cent of marketers, less than half their onsite visitors are receiving targeted content at present, including 65 per cent who say they receive less than 20 per cent.

More than half say personalisation is very or somewhat important to the long-term goals of their organisation, and about one-fifth automate personalisation of content to site visitors based on their profile or behaviour. This was up five per cent year-on-year.

For those that have personalised content, 15 per cent claimed to get a “very positive” reaction from customers, and 42 per cent said “somewhat positive”. In addition, two-thirds of respondents who target content to more than 65 per cent of site visitors achieve conversion rates of more than two per cent.

Social media tactics also got a mention, with social sharing through sites such as Twitter and Facebook noted as “very effective” or “somewhat effective” by 83 per cent of those surveyed.

Mobile also proved its significance as a game-changer when it comes to personalising content and targeting customers. Thirty per cent of digital marketers consider mobile apps very effective at increasing conversion rates, and mobile tactics for increasing conversion rates with strong scores included check-in rewards, advertising promotions using QR code or bar-coded coupons and mobile apps.

However mobile conversion rates were still below one per cent for 57 per cent of companies involved in the research.

“Many companies choose to focus on form over function, not realising that a mobile site needs to address customers’ needs and facilitate the key functional requirements of the main site,” the authors noted.

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