Nielsen’s first-ever ROI Report demonstrates some of the gaps in marketers’ budgets, channels and media strategies that are negatively affecting ROI.
The report found that while about 50% of media plans are underinvested by a median of 50%, ROI can be improved 50% with an ideal budget, which Nielsen describes as the “50-50-50 Gap.”
“In a time when there are more channels than ever to reach desired audiences, it’s critical that insights on ROI are attainable and easy to understand. Brands can’t afford to waste valuable ads on the wrong audiences. By investing wisely and having a balanced strategy of both upper-funnel and lower-funnel initiatives, brands can reach the right audiences and maximize their ROI.”Imran Hirani, vice president of media and advertiser analytics at Nielsen
The report found that media spend should be between 1% and 9% of a company’s revenue, with challengers spending more and larger brands spending less.
The report also found that overspending isn’t as problematic as underspending, which affects digital video (66% underinvested), display (60%), social (43%) and even TV (31%).
How to optimize ad spends, measure returns and improve metrics.
Nielsen’s “50-50-50 Gap” finding shows that while many media plans are often underinvested, results can be improved with better budgets.
- Full funnel marketing: To grow ROI, brands should pursue a balanced strategy for both upper and lower funnel initiatives. Nielsen found that adding upper-funnel marketing to existing lower- and mid-funnel marketing can grow overall ROI by 13-70%.
- Emerging media: It is difficult for brands to spend big amounts without proof that the new media works, but spending small amounts can make it hard to see if the media is working. Nielsen found that podcast ads, influencer marketing and branded content can deliver over 70% in aided brand recall, and that influencer marketing ROI is comparable to ROI from mainstream media.
- Ad sales growth strategy: Ultimately, ROI will inform publisher pricing power. Publishers are not just competing against others in their channel, but also against other channels, so comparing channel ROIs can help set pricing strategy. The ROI Report uncovered that social media delivers 1.7x the ROI of TV, yet social gets less than one-third of TV ad budgets.
- Audience measurement: Campaigns with strong on-target reach deliver better sales outcomes. However, only 63% of ads across desktop and mobile are on-target for age and gender in the U.S., meaning that on the channels with the most exhaustive data coverage and quality, over one-third of ad spend is off-target. To capitalize on opportunity and drive impact, advertisers should prioritize measurement solutions that cover all platforms and devices, with near-real time insights.
Along with channel underinvestment, Nielsen found that only 63% of ads on desktop and mobile are on-target for age and gender in the U.S., despite high levels of data coverage and quality in the channels. Advertisers should prioritize cross-platform and cross-device measurement solutions and near-real time insights to drive impact.
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