Calculating the Correct Channel Strategy

By analyzing consumer and media intelligence trends, marketers will come to understand which channels resonate with customers so they may develop a targeted approach that delivers the greatest conversions and ROI.

Marketers cannot effectively reach their audiences if they don't understand whom they're targeting. But, thanks to the latest analytical technologies, businesses can now explore how consumers interact with brands so they may personalize their customer engagement strategies. Yet, while the days of marketing to the masses may be over, companies must still battle data silos and the struggle to develop complete customer profiles.

Neustar's 2013 Year in Review Global Media Intelligence Report examines how varying platforms impact the average marketer's approach to customer experience. The study, which covers 145 billion ad events, 61 billion impressions, and 10.5 million conversions across social media, exchanges, networks, and portals throughout 2013, reveals how each marketing channel performs, delivering key insights into which online channels marketers must leverage in order to engage with high-performing audiences and efficiently increase reach to drive sales. The report highlights which channels garner the greatest conversions, highlighting that, while certain avenues draw consumers into the modern marketing funnel, others bring the customer experience full circle, closing the loop.

The following statistics examine trends in the intelligence space, offering insight into how marketers can successfully extend reach, increase sales, and drive efficiency:

  • Exchanges demonstrate the greatest cost efficiency with regard to CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions), CPA (cost per one conversion/action) and CPC (cost per one click), indexing below the industry average throughout all of 2013.
  • Social media represents the most effective channel for audience reach, performing about the indexed average for reach efficiency throughout all of 2013 and outperforming the next-best channel (networks) by 197 percent in Q4 alone.
  • In terms of delivering high-quality users, social media performed 52 percent better than the indexed average in Q4, which may be due to users' tendency to log in, remain logged in, visit many pages, and engage on a more regular basis.
  • While social, portals, and networks were present in the upper end of the funnel, indicating that marketers should look to these channels to drive brand awareness, exchanges represented the lower end of the funnel, delivering a significant number of conversions.
  • Throughout 2013, display ads accounted for 72 percent of impressions seen, driving 75 percent of actions, while social garnered 27 percent of impressions and 10 percent of actions.
  • However, while search only saw 1 percent of impressions, said campaigns drove 15 percent of actions, for users exposed to such relevant ads during the research process are more likely to engage with ads for the product at hand.
  • Overall, exchanges (37 percent) and social (28 percent) were better at influencing online versus offline conversions, networks had equal influence both on and offline, and portals were 17 percent better at influencing offline versus online conversions.
  • Targeting top-performing audiences led to an increase in user conversion rates of 215 percent in CPG, 500 percent in retail, 560 percent in education, 920 percent in automotive, and 1,400 percent in telecommunications.

Key takeaway: For many brands, customer data remains stuck in silos, hindering omnichannel campaign efforts and personalized customer experiences. However, companies are increasingly aware of the need to integrate centralized marketing solutions that identify their best customers, deliver real-time and predictive analytics, and connect all data points for easy profiling. Businesses are constantly looking for ways to cultivate personalized, engaging customer experiences, yet they often fail to employ the data right at their fingertips. Marketers need to develop methods for converting such data into actionable insight so they may understand the value of leveraging offline data to improve online campaign performance, reaching quality users on a consistent basis with a specific message, and targeting high-performing audiences based on key attributes. By determining which channels carry the greatest opportunities for successful outreach and conversion, such factors will inevitably allow marketers to develop targeted messaging that increases engagement and satisfaction.