Some 82% of marketers expect to increase their digital spend as a percentage of their total advertising budget.

Further, nearly 80% of marketers plan to increase their investment in analytics or attribution solutions in the next 12 months.

Those are some of the key findings from the Nielsen CMO Report 2018, the first in an annual series of CMO reports by the audience measurement company.

The research, based on in-depth U.S.-based CMO interviews and extensive survey data, made it clear that it’s not more data that marketers are looking for, rather better insight.  Only 25% of marketers reported being highly confident in their ability to accurately measure return on investment (ROI). 

Across nearly all business verticals, marketers reported large shifts in how they evaluate, measure and budget across media channels. 
They also revealed how important digital media has become to their overall marketing efforts.

  • Eighty-two percent of marketers expect to increase their digital media spend as a percentage of their total advertising budget in the next twelve-months (by an average of +49%)
  • Search and social media were ranked the most important digital channels by over 73% of participants
  • The proof of digital media effectiveness, however, remains unclear; only 26% of marketers surveyed were highly confident in their ability to accurately quantify digital media ROI

While respondents didn’t – in general – rank traditional media as highly as digital, they made it clear that traditional channels remain critical to brand building and its associated top-of-funnel marketing metrics including brand awareness, recall and favorability. 

  • Less than a third of respondents expect an increase in traditional media budgets over the next 12 months
  • Television continues to hold its own as the most important traditional media channel by over 51% of participating companies;  30% of respondents ranked TV as extremely important to their marketing strategy
  • Proving ROI remains a challenge for traditional media as well;  Only 23% of marketers were highly confident in measuring traditional media ROI

The report demonstrated that brand advertisers are increasingly organizing themselves in more channel-agnostic ways with customers at the center of their strategy. Four years ago that was not the case for over 70% of companies.  Now nearly as many marketers (62%) reported being organized in a way that supports an omnichannel approach with unified reporting structures and revenue goals.  Challenges with omnichannel marketing execution persist, however, as only a quarter of brand advertisers are highly confident in their current marketing technology.  Respondents reported a need for an easier approach to marketing technology that better integrates multi-channel consumer data and insights in one place.

“We conducted the research for the Nielsen CMO Report 2018 with one central goal, to give voice to brand advertisers who are facing some of the most daunting challenges of their organizations,” said Eric Solomon, SVP of Product Marketing and Strategy at Nielsen.  “What we heard was that despite the prevalence of new advertising and promotional channels and significant investments in data and technology, marketers are still struggling to generate and prove sales results in an increasingly omnichannel world.”

Download a copy of The Nielsen CMO Report 2018 here

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