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Despite a deluge of data, most marketers still don’t have a fix on cross-platform

September 29, 2017 | By Aaron Ethan Peterson, Corporate Marketing Manager, Media & Digital Practice—Kantar Millward Brown @K_MillwardBrown

According to Kantar Millward Brown’s fourth annual Getting Media Right study, 40% of marketers believe their media investments should be allocated to cross-channel and cross-device marketing, rather than any single channel like mobile or television. But less than 50% of advertisers in the study had confidence that their ad dollars are currently being effectively allocated in this manner.

It would appear that despite the seemingly endless amount of data available, advertisers still feel that gaps exist in available research, hampering their ability for decision making. And one of the biggest white spaces is in cross-platform and cross-channel data, with more than half of advertisers (61%) arguing there are gaps in holistic measurement.

Almost every marketer queried (90%) said that while their digital strategies are integrated into their overall brand strategy, most still don’t understand the impact of these strategies across channels. Seventy-four% say this is because it’s tough to maintain an integrated brand strategy in a fragmented media landscape.

Universal currency

For cross-channel comparison and understanding, marketers must effectively have a currency that can be utilized across all channels. But we still lack a true apples-to-apples to comparison between the old and new platforms. Traditional platforms like television and radio still primarily focus on reach and frequency metrics, while online and mobile advertising is primarily based on ROI or sales.

When it comes to measuring cross-channel performance, reach and frequency is the most widely-used metric, but it still is only used by about half of advertisers; ROI or sales is used by 47% of marketers, highlighting the difficulty the industry has had in bridging the gap between digital and traditional media.

Measuring ROI

ROI is the bane of existence for many marketers, identified for the third year in a row as the single hardest metric to get right. Though a majority of marketers feel confident in their ability to track digital channels like online and mobile, 54% have difficulty tracking traditional channels and half have difficulty tracking cross-channel ROI.

When you break it down even further, the ROI divide between traditional and digital channels is apparent. While 64% of marketers use it to measure online and half apply it to mobile, only one-third use ROI to measure TV and other traditional media.

It’s not like marketers don’t believe in those platforms. If ROI measurement improved, over half would increase spend on most channels. More than 75% would increase spend in cross-channel and the individual channels that fuel it.

It goes to show why attribution is so important and central to the overall health of the advertising industry. Accurate measurement leads to increased trust among marketers and their media agency partners, which leads to higher spends on advertising.

Digital advertising was supposed to be more efficient than television, print and radio, with technology giving marketers the ability to reduce waste by targeting only those who would want to buy their product.

But as we all know, now, the digital advertising industry has yet to fully deliver on that promise. To do so, unlocking understanding to cross-platform measurement is a crucial next step.

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