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A Quarter of Digital Marketers Admit to Not Tracking Ad Spend

A Quarter of Digital Marketers Admit to Not Tracking Ad Spend


Research finds that John Wanamaker’s infamous quote – “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don’t know which half” – still holds true for much of the marketing industry in 2017.

Research by Greenlight reveals that almost a quarter of marketers (23%) aren’t tracking any campaign spend whatsoever.

The stat comes from a survey of 200 digital marketing professionals aiming to understand how marketers are tracking and spending ad budgets and found that in addition, just over a third (36%) of digital marketers are confident their campaigns are targeting the right audience.

Greenlight’s CEO, Andreas Pouros, said of the research, “it is clear that many in the industry are still struggling” to meet standards of ad spend efficiency and make full use of the insight available from their data.

“The best campaigns are led by audience insights and by focusing on this, marketers will then, in turn, be able to prove ROI and demonstrate the impact of their campaigns to the broader business,” Pouros said. 

Wrong channels, wrong audience

The worrying findings don’t stop there, however; Greenlight found that almost one in five (18%) don’t think their campaigns are reaching their desired audience at all. Meanwhile, 10% aren’t sure which channels bring the most value to their campaigns, and of those that are, 17% are still not dedicating budgets accordingly.

Furthermore, over a third (35%) of marketers are shelling out most of their budgets on social media campaigns, despite just 23% of consumers preferring to be targeted via social, and just 3% of consumers claimed to favour content marketing, which takes a 21% share of majority budgets.

Greenlight has called the findings “disappointing” considering the potential for such extensive audience insight nowadays, with the result being ad budgets spent ineffectively. 

Tying up loose ends

While marketers should certainly work on putting the basics in place - including a firm understanding of their audience and rigorous measurement and tracking of ad spend, the industry also needs to overcome challenges around multiple data sources, says Pouros.

“The reality is marketers can’t look at metrics in isolation as it can lead to a tunnel-view approach to campaigns, which can then restrict the creative element.

“Ultimately, having an end-to-end understanding of your customer interactions is key to success, and will lead to better-personalised campaigns as a result of that full, unique customer understanding.

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Mark  Jones

Mark Jones

Mark manages all aspects of editorial on PerformanceIN as the company's Head of Content, including reporting on the fast-paced world of digital marketing and curating the site’s network of expert industry contributions.

Going by the ethos that there is no 'jack-of-all-trades' in performance marketing, only experts within their field, Mark’s day-to-day aim is to provide an engaging platform for members to learn and question one another, helping to push the industry forward as a result.

Originally from Plymouth, Mark studied in Reading and London, eventually earning his Master's in Digital Journalism- before making his return to the West Country to join the PI team in Bristol.

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