While KPIs, measurement models, attribution, and optimization remain go-to frameworks of digital marketing plans, I often get the feeling we're leaning too much on these performance metrics and not actually taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. Instead of asking how we can decrease the CPA by 10 percent or increase enrollments by changing frequency caps, we need to do our due diligence to expand beyond our silos and look at the big picture to understand how evolving consumer consumption and usage is truly impacting our business.
U.S. Internet usage has reached saturation, and with that, so has usage of search engines and email. According to eMarketer, overall Internet penetration came in between 75 and 85 percent (depending on the source) in 2012 with a projected 2.4 percent increase this year. With saturation, consumers are developing a more cultured palate for their online experiences, and their expectations have evolved to determine what is and is not acceptable. The days of championing the glorious measureable results of digital media with year-over-year staggering increases in performance are coming to an end…and it is not all to blame on the economy. For example, consumers have become so desensitized to the clutter of banner ads that click-through rates are dismal, and retargeting is now the show pony, saving the day and keeping banners alive. However, with the continual threat of cookie deletion, multiple browsers, and the latest default setting of Mozilla to block cookies, "tracking" and "accountability" could have some challenges ahead.
While Internet usage has reached its saturation point, online ad spending continues to demonstrate healthy year-over-year growth rates and is not expected to dip to single digit growth until 2015, according to eMarketer. With online advertising spending reaching over $40 billion in 2013, we are experiencing a saturation point with these more sophisticated users and continual increases in advertising spending, which is leading to online schizophrenia. With the growth of digital, the idea of a hyper-connected consumer 10 years ago is so outdated that nowadays consumers feel more disconnected than hyper-connected; there is always something they are missing out on, be it using one social platform vs. another, a missed promo code opportunity or daily/flash deal, or (GASP!) maybe a real-life event outside of their digital world.
As we attempt to take a step back and look at the big picture, here are a few things to consider:
There is never a shortage of opportunities to test and try out. If you are always the "wait and see" follower brand you will never stand out amongst the clutter and chaos because consumers become desensitized so quickly. What is new one day becomes standard the next - who doesn't have a responsive design site? So just like dieting, it's important to keep a healthy balance and practice moderation to ensure you have a good mix of tried-and-true, and new and innovative that will keep you in shape to be sure you're continually looking at the big picture for opportunities to embrace the change rather than waiting till it changes you.
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As group director of marketing services for Nurun, Amy Manus is responsible for ensuring clients' interactive strategy and objectives translate into targeted, measurable, and successful digital media campaigns.
Amy leads and manages the media team at playing a key role researching and evaluating the digital media landscape, directing clients' innovation and emerging media strategies, inclusive of social media and mobile. She is instrumental in the Nurun's global advertising strategies and development, working with teams in Canada, Europe, and Asia.
Amy is a member of the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association. A native of Cincinnati, Amy received her bachelor's degree in marketing and minor in speech and communications from Clemson University.