Social media is the most effective paid channel, say global marketers – but while it’s easier to track ROI from digital channels, it sometimes runs counter to their primary business goal of building brand awareness. We dig deeper into the findings of Nielsen’s 2022 Global Annual Marketing Report to explore this potential conundrum and where marketers should look to find growth.
Social media tops the list of most effective paid channels for 64% of marketers globally, according to Nielsen’s 2022 Global Annual Marketing Report. But with 66% of them placing brand awareness as their most important business goal, there is a potential disconnect as CMOs struggle to find the right balance between short-term gains and marketing efforts. long-term brand development.
“Marketers are always under pressure to deliver a measurable return on investment (ROI) for their efforts, so it’s no surprise to see a greater focus on short-term gains – especially in recent years,” explains Emma Delserieys, Vice President, Customer Success Europe, Marketing Effectiveness, Nielsen. “There’s no short-selling about the importance of being able to engage those who are ready to buy, but effective marketing requires more than mid and bottom activations. While it’s easier to track return on investment of digital channels, it is not the best way to achieve mass notoriety.
According to the report, future growth must be approached with balanced marketing strategies that re-evaluate upper funnel brand building efforts to work in tandem with middle and lower funnel efforts.
The state of digital
Marketers have gone digital in 2021, allocating more than half of their advertising budgets to digital channels. And it shows no signs of slowing down. Brands’ growing popularity and success on channels like Instagram and TikTok drives spending growth in 2022, as marketers invest up to 53% more in social media, the highest of all others canals.
Social media, as well as online display (which will see budgets increase by 50% in 2022), video (+49%), search (+45%) and over-the-top (OTT) services (+37%), are set to attract the biggest increase in advertising dollars this year. Meanwhile, traditional high-reach channels like linear TV (+20%) and radio (+13%) – which are more aligned with brand building and new consumer acquisition efforts – have been eliminated from the list of priorities.
While 61% of global marketers are confident in their ability to measure the impact of building a brand, they are less confident in the effectiveness of traditional channels compared to digital channels. By limiting the increase in their advertising spend on traditional channels, this suggests that there is a possible mismatch between key business objectives and marketing tactics.
A balanced marketing strategy for future growth
Balancing the need to meet short-term sales goals and position a brand for future success can seem contradictory. With limited budgets, doing more of one may mean doing less of the other; and the optimal mix of media channels and messaging strategies will likely vary when optimizing just for the short- or long-term goal.
“Brands need to understand that channels that are ideal for driving sales may not be ideal for increasing awareness,” adds Delserieys. “While there is a modest correlation between a channel’s effectiveness for upper funnel efforts and its effectiveness for lower funnel efforts, this is not particularly helpful when it comes to to make investment choices.
A matter of trust
Despite the high reported confidence in the ability of marketers to measure the effectiveness of brand building campaigns, it is not uncommon for brands to find it difficult to quantify the effects of brand building on long-term sales. , notes Delserieys.
It is also a matter of trust. Nielsen’s 2021 Advertising Trust Study found that many channels that marketers plan to leverage more in the coming year are less trusted by consumers around the world.
More than a third (36%) of consumers don’t trust social media ads or ads shown in search engine results, while 38% don’t trust online banner ads, according to data by Nielsen. The exception is influencer brand advertising or opinions – trusted by 71% of consumers. By comparison, 78% of consumers trust TV ads and 74% trust product placement in TV programs.
Patience is a brand’s best friend
Delserieys explains that to drive new customer acquisition, patience will be a brand’s best friend. According to Nielsen Commspoint Journey, a survey of purchase journeys across 80 product categories found that 85% of purchases were for brands the customer had tried in the past, while 22% of consumers reported feeling worried or nervous to the idea of trying a new brand.
“With a clear, real-time understanding of consumers and their behaviors, brands are well positioned to refine their messages, allocate their advertising spend, adjust their media mix and optimize their return on investment,” says Delserieys. “Navigating constant change isn’t easy, but agility has never been more important. An adaptive mindset is the most important attribute to have in business today. Brands that partner with consumers, clearly articulate their company’s value proposition, and meaningfully engage with them will develop the foundation for long-term relationships.
Amid media fragmentation and changing sources of brand equity, brands will need to leverage an array of channels to reach the widest audiences. Caring for upper funnel metrics requires precise alignment between messaging and channel, and this is especially true with brand building efforts.
As the convergence of linear and digital consumer lives continues, well-defined data strategies will help marketers engage in meaningful, personalized ways that drive long-term growth and prosperity.
For more information on forward-looking strategies for brand building and customer acquisition, download Nielsen’s 2022 Global Annual Marketing Report here.