Digiday+ Research: A definitive ranking of brands’ and agencies’ marketing channels, where social reigns supreme

This research is based on unique data collected from our proprietary audience of publisher, agency, brand and tech insiders. It’s available to Digiday+ members. More from the series →

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Social media can be like the wild west of marketing, with the constant changes (algorithms, anyone?) and increasing fragmentation, among other issues. But for brand and agency marketers, social media holds the top spot by far when it comes to spending and confidence that the channel drives marketing success.

This is according to a Digiday+ Research survey of over 100 brand, retailer and agency professionals.

Digiday’s survey found that, overall, social media is the top marketing channel among brands, retailers and agency clients — by a wide margin. Almost all brand and retailer respondents (98%) said their companies currently use social media as a marketing channel, and 94% of agency respondents said their clients use social media marketing.

Display advertising came in behind social media, but it still put up impressive numbers in terms of how many marketers are using the channel, especially brand marketers. Eighty percent of brand and retailer pros said their companies use display ads including email as a marketing channel. Agencies came out a bit lower, with 71% of agency pros saying their clients use display ads as a marketing channel.

Retail media took the third-place spot among both brands and agencies, but, interestingly, there is a large discrepancy between the percentage of brands and retailers that are marketing via retail media and the percentage of agency clients that are also doing so. Seventy percent of brand and retailer pros said their companies use retail media including Amazon as a marketing channel. In comparison, 44% of agency pros said their clients use retail media marketing.

Ad-supported video streaming platforms brought up the rear in Digiday’s survey, with 52% of brand and retailer pros saying their companies use ad-supported video streaming platforms including TV as a marketing channel and 43% of agency pros saying their clients do the same.

Unsurprisingly, Digiday’s survey found that social media accounts for the highest spend and confidence among marketers. Three-quarters of brand and retailer pros (75%) said social media accounts for the highest percentage of their marketing budgets, and 72% of agency pros said the same. At the same time, 72% of brands and retailers said they have the most confidence in social media compared with other marketing channels, and two-thirds of agencies (66%) agreed.

Interestingly, retail media appears to have the most untapped potential, especially among brand marketers. Overall, Digiday’s survey found a big difference between the percentage of marketers who use retail media as a marketing channel and the percentage of those who said retail media accounts for a high portion of their marketing budgets and who said they’re most confident retail media drives marketing success. In other words, there’s lots of room for retail media to grow.

While 70% of brands and retailers are using retail media as a marketing channel, around half said the channel accounts for a high portion of their marketing budgets and the highest share of their confidence that it drives marketing success. More specifically, 42% of brand and retailer pros said their companies put the highest portion of their marketing budgets toward retail media, and 45% said their companies have the most confidence that retail media drives marketing success compared with other channels.

Agencies, on the other hand, don’t seem sold on retail media marketing just yet. While 44% of agency pros told Digiday their clients use retail media as a marketing channel, just one-quarter (25%) said retail media accounts for the highest portion of their clients’ marketing budgets. And 27% said they have the most confidence that the channel drives marketing success for their clients compared with other channels.

With about half of brands and agencies using display ads in their marketing, this channel comes the closest to being consistent in terms of how much marketers are spending there and how confident they are in its ability to drive success.

Half of brand and retailer pros (50%) said display ads account for the highest portion of their companies’ marketing budgets. When it comes to confidence, 42% said their companies have the most confidence that display ads drive marketing success compared with other marketing channels. It’s worth noting that, among brands, display ads actually came in third place in terms of how confident they are that the channel drives marketing success, with retail media taking the second-place spot.

For agencies, there’s a bigger difference between how much their clients spend on display ads and how confident they are that they’re successful. Forty-three percent of agency pros said display ads account for the highest portion of their clients’ marketing budgets. But just more than a third (34%) said they have the most confidence that display ads drive marketing success for their clients.

Just slightly more than half of brands and retailers and just under half of agencies use ad-supported streaming platforms as a marketing channel, but only about half of that (or less) spend a lot of money in this channel and have confidence that it drives marketing success. For brands, 20% of brand and retailer pros told Digiday that they put the highest portion of their marketing budgets toward ad-supported video streaming platforms. The same percentage said they have the most confidence that the channel drives marketing success.

The numbers are similar for agencies: 20% of agency pros said ad-supported video streaming gets the highest portion of their clients’ marketing budgets, while just short of a quarter (23%) said they are the most confident the channel drives marketing success for their clients.

https://digiday.com/?p=535671

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