Spending in social, mobile and data analytics is steadily increasing. But don’t count out the established digital tools like email, paid search and SEO: Traditional digital channels will continue to dominate retailer marketing budgets, according to a recent survey of 110 retailers conducted by the e-tailing group.
When asked how they planned to allocate their 2012 digital marketing budgets, Paid search (30%), email (18%) and SEO/natural search (11%) were cited as the top priorities by marketers surveyed for the report, sponsored by Bronto Software.
For revenue generation, merchants said that they expect the top performing channels to be SEO (31%), mobile (including m-commerce, iPads and apps – 30%) email (22%), paid search (22%) and social media (14%).
Eighty-seven percent of those surveyed are currently using Facebook, while 82% are on Twitter; 8% said they plan to try each of those networks in the next year. A much smaller percentage—29%—have m-commerce sites, with 42% planning to launch a mobile commerce presence in the next 12 months. As for QR codes and apps, 38% and 19% respectively are using them today, while 31% (QR) and 27% (apps) have plans to test them in the next year.
Retailers surveyed also indicated that they are overwhelmed by the massive amount of data they now possess. Less than 10% felt they were effectively tapping into the data they have on customers and prospects.
The survey also revealed that digital channels have provided merchants access to a wealth of information about consumer preferences and behavior, but the flood of data overwhelms the majority of retailers.
Less than 10% surveyed said that they are in an ideal situation to tap into the data they have to effectively market to their customers and prospects. Close to 20% said they could use better funding and staffing levels to make that happen, while 13% said they could use better reporting and analytics. SEO, paid search and local search was a concern for 11%, while 8% wanted to improve how they used data for targeting.
“People understand there’s a wealth of data, but it’s hard to wrangle it,” says Jim Davidson, manager of marketing research at Bronto. “There are so many consumer touchpoints that it can be [hard to effectively use data] to drive engagement and revenue.”