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When it comes to the important task of integrating search, display and social ad campaigns, many marketers at major brands seem to be falling short, according to a survey of 152 U.S. marketers produced by Efficient Frontier and Forrester Consulting. Their joint study found that while interactive online marketers may think they already integrate display media and paid search pretty well, there is much improvement that can be made in the process.
Many of the polled marketers wish they had one single platform for planning, executing, managing and measuring paid-search and display programs. As most of their campaigns are large and complex, with more than half of the respondents having paid-search programs with more than 10,000 keywords, managing that data on multiple fronts is still largely archaic. Further, display campaigns are also complex, with more than half applying rich media, video or interactive features in their display ads; and another very large portion, targeting display ads with behavioral data. It is enough to make anyone’s head hurt.
And they aren’t spending chump change in the process. Most marketers surveyed indicated that they spend about half of their total ad spend on search and display media. Nearly 40% spend more than $1 million a month on search and display combined, while 14% spend more than $10 million. That is a lot of impressions to herd!
Unfortunately many marketers are still using rudimentary techniques for much of their channel integration; most are still opting to use spreadsheets to track and integrate campaigns. No one can argue that trying to tie together multiple platforms such as an ad server like Dart and analytics system like Omniture makes it complex and cumbersome to say the least. And many marketers believe the only other way is the “Old School” method of pulling out the data, putting it into a spreadsheet and trying to analyze it. There are other tools out there, but apparently most major marketers still are not comfortable with those tools, methodologies and advanced optimization techniques to improve their campaigns. Interestingly, most respondents indicated that currently available tools to measure and manage cross-channel processes fell short of expectations. This includes advances in measurement and combined results. So they know what they need, but they haven’t found it yet.
Throughout the study, respondents cited the biggest road block to integration as the difficulty in proper, accurate measurement. They do not know how to systematically measure and optimize campaigns, and require a management platform to help streamline campaign measurement processes. That’s a huge opportunity for those in online media and developers of the tools we use to really dive in and become a hero by creating tools that help make the process more cohesive and accurate at the same time. It is also a very good reason for marketers to work closely with professionals in the business who spend time in that space every day, working to improve, optimize and deliver.