Marketers missing return on investment analytics

Only half of marketers use analytics to measure online activity, according to the results of a sixth annual marketing survey of industry professionals in Europe and the US.

Although nearly two thirds (62 per cent) of 1,500-plus organisations questioned by marketing technology provider Alterian said they planned budget increases, only 47 per cent use analytics to measure their return on that investment.

A quarter of those surveyed said analysing results was the hardest part of any campaign, despite the fact that online marketing investment was predicted to rise among respondents for the sixth consecutive year.

Organisations reported that they were beginning to look increasingly at social networks as well as email, search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising as part of healthy online growth at the expense of offline options.

Bob Barker, Alterian vice president of corporate marketing, told IT PRO that, while spending might remain strong during this year's recessionary climate, the numbers of respondents planning to spend bigger online budgets had also fallen sharply over the past two years.

"Despite the continued trend towards investing in more specialised online advertising activity, the survey revealed that there is still an issue of being able to measure its affect," he added.

Around a quarter of marketers surveyed said they used more than seven applications to deliver campaigns. And over half (51 per cent) were using between three and six applications.

"The problem is that the email marketing team are using their application, the SEO and PPC team are using their own applications and the web analytics team have theirs," said Barker. "There a lack of integration across marketing data and with CRM (customer relationship management) systems data."

However, one fifth of respondents claimed that their website was only basic' and not at the core of its marketing activity. But Barker argued that the survey demonstrated how companies needed to understand the channels available to them better before investing their marketing funds.

"In these tough economic times, the need for speed, integration and real-time access to data is getting greater, as customers demand more of a personalised, two-way conversation with businesses," he said.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.