Are Your Clients Obsessing Over Ad Budget Waste?

BY Kathy Crosett
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The waste of advertising money has long been a worry for marketers. Decades ago, John Wanamaker famously lamented he didn’t know which half of his ad money was wasted. This year, a survey from Rakuten suggests that U.S. marketers believe at least 30% of their ad dollars yield little or no return.

Rakuten’s new report: What Marketers Want – Five Strategic Opportunities for 2018 is based on a survey of over 1,000 marketing professionals across the globe. Just over 200 of these folks are based in the U.S. The report categorizes marketers by type and found a high level of advancers in the U.S. Advancers tend to be tech savvy. They’re attuned to the customer journey and obsess over ad fraud and viewability issues.

On the topic of budget waste, marketers are right to worry about fraud and viewability. There's a large issue regarding waste and it's linked to marketers' tendencies to constantly shift formats to increase reach. A more effective strategy would be to select “the mix of marketing channels that will turn the greatest return on investment.”

Keeping customers engaged often means engaging them in new ways. Leading-​edge marketers are shifting advertising budgets away from print and into image and voice-​heavy campaigns. At least 48% of U.S. marketers in the Rakuten study are exploring the use of voice this year. While it’s exciting to delve into new technology, analysts warn that marketers need to keep the bottom line in sight. The digital engagement should lead customers down the funnel to an eventual purchase, not just impress prospects with the marketer's digital prowess.

Video marketing is another popular new ad format. At least 68% of U.S. marketers will invest in some type of video content this year. Influencer marketing seems ideal for the video format as online celebrities can tell stories about products or services. This format resonates well with consumers, but its impact can be difficult to measure. If your clients are using this format, can they track how well it's working for them?

Rakuten analysts also asked marketers about non-​traditional season advertising. Nearly all marketers agree that Christmas captures a large share of the ad budget. But they could stand out by emphasizing emerging holidays, such as Singles’ Day. At least 15% of U.S. marketers now create campaigns for that holiday. And, with the increasing number of Chinese-​American citizens in the U.S., marketers could be getting more mileage out of Chinese New Year-​related promotions.

If your clients want to try something a little different this year, review the details of Rakuten Marketing’s study with them. A concerted effort to target the right audiences with ad dollars and to launch promotions for nontraditional holidays could improve their ROI.

Did you know that AdMall from SalesFuel​.com contains an entire database of holidays and events that you can discuss with your clients?