It’s the “end of advertising as we know it.” That’s the conclusion of David Jakubowski, CEO of media intelligence company Aggregate Knowledge (AK), whose new report points to the ways in which analytics are resulting in better reach and more sales for digital advertisers. Or, as the report puts it, referring to the hit cable TV series about the ad business, it’s “math men meet mad men.” 

The Q1 Global Media Intelligence Report focused on cost, reach efficiency, user quality and funnel attribution indices through the four main digital marketing channels – exchanges, networks, portals and social media. Exchanges are platforms that enable bidding for online ad selling and buying from various ad networks, and portals are websites that assemble information on a given topic from various sources.

Digital = 25 Percent

The findings were based on an analysis of 130 billion ad events, 27 billion impressions and 1.8 million conversions across 872 campaigns. The data for the report was collected through tags used by the AK Media Intelligence Platform, and represented over 600 different inventory providers across a variety of industries.

Digital ads now account for about 25 percent of ad budgets, and, according to research firm Accenture Interactive, nearly 23 percent of marketers intend to spend over half of their marketing budget on digital. Increasingly, marketers are investing in Big Data analytics and in cross-channel ad buys.

The report said its aim was to provide data about which channels in Q1 delivered conversions most cost effectively and at the lowest cost, which reached new users not available through other channels, and which had the highest quality users that could be marketed to consistently.

AK found that exchanges continue to be the most cost-effective, while portals are the lowest cost. Portals and social media continue to push the efficiency of marketing reach, and social delivers the highest quality users. Portals have improved five-fold in reach efficiency in Q1 versus Q4, and now slightly exceed social’s reach efficiency. This is a dramatic turnaround from Q4, when social’s score in this area was more than six times that of portals’.

Upper Funnel

The report noted that it is “sometimes more important than cost” to efficiently reach the users you really want to. Portals were a relatively inexpensive channel in reaching exclusive users, which AK attributed to the use of “second-party data overlayed” on marketing media to make “better informed decisions on who to target and with what message.”

Aggregate Knowledge.png
From the Aggregate Knowledge report

Social media is tops in reaching and marketing to quality users that can be marketed to consistently. Both social media and portals perform above average in delivering “quality users” who have not seen a given message, and who can regularly drive more sales through continuous marketing.

AK’s funnel attribution index looks at the likelihood that a channel had influence in the “upper funnel” on sales conversion. The upper funnel is where the first customer touches take place, as opposed to just looking at the “last touch” before a message or a click converts into a sale. The report said that “many channels get undue credit” if only last-touch attribution is considered. When looking at the top of the funnel, social continues to be way out ahead -- and has increased by 61 percent over the last quarter.