1. Marketing budgets rise at weakest pace in nearly three years
Brands increased their marketing budgets at the slowest rate (2.5%) for almost three years in the third quarter.
The net balance of those increasing budgets for “main media advertising” – TV, magazines, radio, print and outdoor – was down slightly from 4.9% to 4.8%. Conversely, the net balance of 13.6% reporting higher online spending was stronger than the average budget expansion for online seen in 37 quarters.
Due to the uncertainty around Brexit, a net balance of 5.7% were optimistic about their company’s prospects, down from 13.3% in the second quarter – the bleakest assessment for six years.
Source: IPA Bellwether
2. Online retail sales growth slumps to lowest level in 2018
Online retail sales in the UK dropped to their lowest September growth for four years last month as warm weather and a “tightening” of wallets hit spending. Sales growth in the month dropped to 7.5% year on year, with clothing feeling the brunt of the slowdown, with sales growth of just 2.2% year on year, well below the five-year average of 7.4%.
Consumer spending on gifts dropped by 23% year on year, the biggest drop since March 2010.
For the third quarter, growth dropped to 10.1%, compared to 17.1% in the prior quarter, and the lowest level so far this year.
Smartphone sales outpaced the rest of the market, up 16.1% on last year. However, growth has slowed considerably against the 55.8% recorded last year.
Source: IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index
3. Successful companies more likely to say the marketing function ‘owns the customer’
The marketing function within a business ‘owns’ the customer in just half (51%) of companies, although there are significant variations depending on whether a company is a “customer data leader”.
At ‘leaders’, 88% of marketers surveyed ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that the marketing function ‘owns the customer’, with just 12% disagreeing. However, at ‘mainstream’ companies, just 41% agree the marketing function is responsible for the customer, with 31% disagreeing.
Customer data leaders are also significantly more likely to give their marketing departments primary responsibility for marketing logic and intelligence – 48% versus 38% for mainstream companies. Leaders are also eight times more likely to strongly agree that they have a culture that encourages an integrated approach to data.
Source: Econsultancy and SAP
4. Two-thirds of marketers say walled gardens are major block to improving first-party data
Two-thirds (66%) of marketers believe walled gardens are a major barrier to improving first-party data, while another 65% agree they don’t provide enough insight to make comparisons with other channels or partners.
Many marketers want more, and better, insight into their data, with 83% listing this as a critical or high priority over the next 12 months. When asked which insights marketers found the most valuable, ‘understanding audience behaviour’ came out on top (92%), followed by ‘informing overall strategy’ (88%) and ‘viewability’ (87%).
GDPR is another factor driving the pursuit of data ownership with 77% of marketers expecting their audience targeting and objective, third-party measurement to be constrained as a result of the new regulation.
5. Only one in 10 online shoppers visit a brand’s website when searching for products
Almost half (45%) of consumers visit Amazon first when looking for a specific product, compared to 28% of consumers who first use a search engine, and another 11% who prefer to visit a brand’s website as a first source of information.
The time to convince shoppers to purchase is short, with 41% of online shoppers refusing to consult another online store if all the information they need is provided in the first shop they visit. Another 31% will move to another website within 10 seconds if general product information is lacking.
The most commonly searched for information is price comparisons (74%), followed by general product information (41%) and reviews (58%).