Report: Marketers lack confidence in measurement, tech tools, data sets

New Nielsen US survey of marketers explores marketing and media measurement, data sources and areas of importance

Fewer than one in five marketers feel confident in their ability to measure marketing return on investment or that they have the right marketing technology tools in place to help, a new report has found.

According to the latest US Nielsen Annual Marketing Report, less than 20 per cent of marketers surveyed have confidence in their ability to measure marketing returns overall. Marketers from the largest organisations were also only marginally more confident than those from smaller organisations in their ability to measure full-funnel media ROI, multi-touch and sales attribution, and unduplicated reach and frequency.

Nielsen classified organisations in three groups for the survey: Those with under $1 million of annual marketing budget (small), those of marketing budgets of between $1 million and $10 million (medium), and those spending at least $10m annually on marketing (large).

In addition, only 14 per cent of those from smaller businesses and 16 per cent of those from medium-sized businesses felt they had the right marketing technology in place to measure ROI. The figure only marginally improved across marketers from large businesses (20 per cent).

Despite this apparent lack of confident, 31 per cent of small, 25 per cent of medium-sized and 46 per cent of large-sized organisations anticipated an increase in marketing technology software investment over the next 12 months.  

The highest ranked measurement capabilities for the majority of marketers surveyed by Nielsen are brand awareness, full-funnel media ROI and engagement. Further down the list are multi-touch/sales attribution, viewability, marketing mix modelling and unduplicated reach and frequency.

Key inhibitors to marketing analytics and attribution adoption identified by respondents included budget limitations, data access and identity resolution.  

The survey also looked into the importance of data sources. It found 86 per cent of marketers from companies of all sizes recognised the importance of first-party data, yet also showed a lack of confidence in their data overall. The top data sources for companies were CRM (80 per cent of large organisation marketers, 67 per cent of small and medium organisation marketers), digital behaviour (80 and 58 per cent respectively), and product-level purchasing data (51 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively).

Large companies are also 50 per cent more likely to see the value of complementary datasets than smaller ones.

Top marketing tactics were another factor rated, with the most popular proving to be audience targeting, audience reach and data quality. Nielsen found personalisation and path-to-purchase message sequencing are more important among brands with

smaller marketing budgets, while businesses with larger budgets are mainly focused on audience targeting, reach and data quality. Overall, it found customer acquisition to be the main objective for marketers in 2021.

The Nielsen report was based on a survey of 260 marketing professionals between October and December 2020.

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