Welcome to the world of adolescence in online advertising. That’s the message from researchers at Collective. In the firm’s 5th annual Display Advertising Study, analysts point out that both marketers and agencies are adjusting their strategies with respect to display and social media as the online format evolves.

Over half, 57%, of agencies are hoping that the display ad campaigns they create for their clients will build brands.  While previous ROI studies on display campaigns were all about CTRs and trying to measure increases in sales, agencies are now focusing on other metrics.

  •  Branch recall/intent to purchase: 56%
  • Post exposure actions such as site visitation: 47%
  • Offline sales: 33%
  • Time spent with ad message: 26%
  • CTR: 20%
  • Social engagement (sharing/linking): 19%

Agencies also want to use “data-driven audience buying” techniques to reach the right audiences. Agencies know that marketers cherish brand safety above the need for a high ROI.  This means that marketers expect their agencies to respect consumer privacy. At the same time, marketers are getting more relaxed about ads appearing on sites that contain user-generated videos. Only 22% of surveyed agencies said they’d stay aware from YouTube on their client’s behalf.

Analysts also point out that agencies, especially, are slow to measure their ad creativity as part of a campaign’s success despite the fact that most brand advertising had traditionally exhibited creativity.

There’s even more confusion about social media. Marketers are committed to spending about 20% of their digital ad budget on social media but have the following beliefs:

  •  The format adds value to a display ad campaign: 12%
  • Facebook fan page is more important than their brand website: 35%
  • Don’t understand social media but feel compelled to use it: 25%

These numbers suggest that marketers are lost with respect to social media and are going along with what is trendy, another behavior typically associated with adolescence.

With findings like these, it’s easy to imagine that both marketers and agencies will be adjusting their online strategies as they seek the right mix that maximizes brand performance and ROI.

[Source: Conflict: Digital Advertising 2011. Collective.com. September 2011. Web. 13 Oct. 2011]