Digital Media Budget Flux

Brands like to talk a big game when it comes to new digital media opportunities, but deep down they’re still uncomfortable with the success metrics offered.

Check out a new study by research firm Brand Keys. It probed nearly 600 brands to find which channels contribute the most to ROI. It found some pretty conservative marketers. The digital channels that are seeing the most engagement, leading to engagement, sales, and loyalty were search (contributes 18 percent to ROI), brand’s own website (16 percent), “shopping portals” (14 percent), browsing portals (13 percent), email (12 percent) and social networks (11 percent).

Not faring so well: mobile apps (contributes 5 percent to ROI), blogs (3 percent), online video (2 percent), digital magazines (2 percent) and digital newspapers (2 percent).

“CMOs today are where the CIOs were 10 years ago,” said Amy Shea, evp and global director of brand development at Brand Keys. “Back then, information technology folks were trying to get systems to talk to each other because businesses desperately needed that cohesion to run productively, and they got there through infrastructure solutions.”

Jason Wadler, evp at Leapfrog Online, said that money should be set aside to test emerging media and marketing formats. He suggested about 10 percent of the digital budget be allocated to understand where the next-generation opportunities may be for a brand’s target market.

Brands decide on specific channels based on their objectives. For example, brands that are really focused on driving awareness should bet more on formats that are less response-driven, like display, video and social. With these three channels, it is more about emotional engagement than short-term response.

Conversely, if response is the primary objective, then channels such as search (SEM and SEO), mobile and tablets should get more of the digital budget. But often campaigns carry a mix of both objectives, so it’s critical to track and measure each action the consumer takes to determine where to re-invest moving forward.

“If there’s one sure thing in digital, it’s that brand value has one of the greatest impacts on metrics and success,” said Cass Baker, evp of Leapfrog. “This should not be a surprise to anyone, and yet it’s a premise that’s easy to forget in today’s digital world of daily deals and social word of mouth. The company that supports multiple channels and delivers a standard set of expectations, products and brand promises will outperform its competition.”

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