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The Accelerating State of Digital Marketing


The Accelerating State of Digital Marketing

The eclipse of analog marketing has been thought inevitable for years. As new digital platforms and tactics have proliferated across the marketing ecosystem. In some ways, however, this sea change has been slow to arrive. Even as digital platforms and channels became ascendant across some parts of the marketing ecosystem, analog platforms more than kept pace in long-established sectors. But now, in the wake of a pandemic that’s hindered and often shuttered physical commerce across the globe, the long foretold shift to digital has accelerated the process.

With consumers forced to remain indoors, consumers are glued to their screens and marketers have been experiencing a massive spike in digital spending, coupled with a steep decline in analog spending. So now the question remains- As digital takes the reins from analog, how can marketers adopt long-term strategies that enable them to target — and retain — the massive influx of digital customers they’re seeing?

The new report by customer lifecycle management marketing company Zeta aims to share some insights into this.

An analog spending collapse is already underway — as is a digital surge

  • Data from the study confirms that marketers have begun shifting their budgets away from analog channels and toward digital platforms.

  • Executives recognized that media trends are shifting rapidly, and are racing to reach consumers where they’re active.

Cookie restrictions and regulations create obstacles to digital expansion

  • Brands and agencies are living through an era of cookie deprecation and tightening privacy regulations, making it vastly more difficult to target users, measure behavior and personalize content — right at the moment when these abilities are most crucial.
  • In spite of these challenges, executives and managers are pushing their companies to expand their digital footprints.
  • And for the most part, they appear to recognize that the only realistic solutions to the challenges posed by cookie restrictions and regulations will be technological in nature.

On the path to digital expansion, the failure to reach unique IDs looms large

  • In the effort to shift their companies toward digital omnichannel media environments, no technological roadblock is more challenging than identifying unique user IDs in the post-cookies era.
  • Respondents indicated that they’ve had trouble reaching unique users through the digital platforms they’ve rapidly begun to embrace, especially in their efforts around targeting, measurement, and scale.

  • The survey noted that brands and agencies were clear about the importance of establishing unique user identities — mainly when it came to ad targeting and direct customer engagement.
  • Brands and agencies struggle to identify and engage with unique user IDs, making their personalized targeting and engagement particularly difficult. Only 22 percent of respondents said their company was capable of identifying and engaging with unique user identities on digital platforms “to a large extent.”

User ID struggles impact personalization, attribution and customer experience

  • Executives are struggling with personalization and targeting.
  • Respondents noted that they’re struggling with personalization whether it is; email targeting to targeted promotions, from setting optimal pricing to personalized content and product recommendation.

  • In any given area of personalized customer experience, fewer than one-third of respondents in our survey rated their ability highly.
  • Across the board, respondents suggested they have significant room for improvement when it comes to personalization and targeting.

Measurement and attribution aren’t keeping pace

  • The study noted that companies face significant shortcomings when it comes to attribution — and those challenges, in turn, are playing a significant role in their personalization challenges.

  • Fewer than 30% of respondents ranked their attribution and measurement capabilities as excellent — a sign that companies are doing a less-than-ideal job of understanding customer behavior and then applying those learnings to personalization and targeting.
  • The study noted the factors that are impacting their capabilities.
  • It’s safe to say that no single factor keeps digital measurement from reaching its full potential as companies shift their budgets to digital platforms.

Executives want to get better at collecting real-time data for attribution

  • Brands and marketers say they’re only moderately confident in their ability to collect real-time data from digital platforms — a major problem at a moment when digital platforms are taking on an unprecedented importance.

  • Only 31% of executives said they have a high ability to collect real-time data from digital channels.
  • As marketers and brands shift to digital platforms, they’re not merely struggling to collect data — they’re struggling to collect it quickly.
  • It’s a sticking point that makes it more difficult for them to react, measure, target and personalize swiftly and nimbly.
  • Examining real-time data is just a start, of course. To get better at reaching and measuring users on an individual level, marketers and advertisers alike will need to examine the full range of technological solutions available to them to help them identify unique users.

Cross-publisher user IDs are privacy safe, crucial for personalization — and they’ll keep the digital marketing ecosystem-wide open

  • Experts say that, in the post- cookies, post-regulatory era, agency and brand execs will need more technological sophistication around targeting unique IDs — and that they’ll need to bring their first- party data into play as well.
  • As things stand, marketers are measured about their abilities to attribute, personalize and target across platforms. Becoming more adept at targeting unique users will change that opinion.

What cross-publisher IDs mean for the future

  • The post-cookies era is already here, and a powerful user identity approach is crucial to helping marketers persevere beyond it.
  • The good news is, cross-publisher ID solutions already exist — and they’re entirely at home in the post- cookies, GDPR present.
  • To maintain personalization and individualized targeting across the entire digital ecosystem — and at a moment when executives are directing their companies to invest in a vast array of digital platforms — marketers need to ensure that content and marketing are not only privacy-compliant but flexible and individualized across all platforms.

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