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ADI: Brands Think They’re Delivering Better Experiences, But Consumers Disagree

Marketing has come a long way since the days of spray-and-pray, but some brands might be getting a little too confident in their ability to serve up worthwhile advertising experiences.

So says a new study by Adobe Digital Insights (ADI), which found a disconnect in perception between consumers and brands about the effectiveness of advertising. According to responses from 1,000 consumers and 300 digital marketers, 58% of brands said they believe they are doing better at serving valuable ads; unfortunately, only 38% of consumers agreed.

“That 20% gap is the result of brands having made some strides in delivering valuable ads, but they are not doing it enough,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at ADI. “The reason is the exceedingly instantaneous amount of time they have to demonstrate value to the consumer. Companies are still not built to be able to do that.”

The study also found that consumers in all different age groups have expressed more interest in personalized communications and experiences from brands, versus those who are not interested. Despite the fact that more than 50% of 18- to 49-year-olds want ads based on their preferences and interests, consumers said marketers are still not delivering on the promises of personalization, ADI found.

Why the lack of progress? Fragmented organizations and technology, ADI concluded.


“Organizations, themselves, are fragmented, and, on top of that, their technology is fragmented, making it difficult to make progress at the five-second mark—which is all the time you have to make sure your ad was delivered relevantly and well,” Gaffney said. “At a time when marketers are competing for time and attention, getting digital experiences right could help set you apart from competitors.”

With internet adoption growth relatively flat in the United States, the competition to acquire new traffic is fierce, according to ADI. Total visits to U.S. websites have declined 0.4% over the past three years. The cost of digital advertising, on the other hand, is up 12%, on average, across channels and is rising five times faster than inflation.

Are brands getting their money’s worth? According to the analysis, advertisers have increased spend on search by 42% but have only driven an 11% increase in site visits. Further, ADI found, consumers are spending less time on websites, with time spent down 22 seconds (-6%) year over year (YoY).

The report highlights a big opportunity in digital video, noting growth in viewership on TV Everywhere (TVE) and mobile. TVE video plays have increased 102% in the past two years, according to Adobe Primetime data. Users of TVE have increased 110%.

“We’re in a really high-pressure environment where marketers need to not only protect their loyal base, but also efficiently steal from the competition,” Gaffney said. “Our prediction is that emerging channels are going to be key in gaining new customers.”

ADI also dug into how the creative role is changing with the onset of digital channels. The key finding: Data is the new black in the creative community. Interest in creative jobs requiring data and technology skills is up 54%, while interest in traditional creative roles is up just 27%. Behance data reveals that jobs requiring data and technology skills accounted for 32% of creative job listings in the fourth quarter of 2016.

“There’s no arguing the fact that the marketing world as we know it is changing,” Gaffney said. “The winners are going to be the companies that have the technology and chops to serve relevant, personalized communications to consumers, consistently, at every point in the purchase journey.”

See the full report below, or click here to view a larger version on SlideShare:

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