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With so much attention now being given to 'owned' and 'earned' media, it's easy to forget that it is still paid media which command the biggest chunk of marketing budgets and where the stakes are highest.

However, despite the large sums of money being invested, new research by Econsultancy and Adobe shows that few companies are taking an integrated and cross-channel approach to paid-for digital media. 

Our new Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing, entitled Optimising Paid Media, has found that just 21% of companies are carrying out ‘effective optimisation’ of media buying across search, display and social advertising.

As the chart below shows, the majority of marketers (57%) say that optimisation of this kind is only ‘limited’, while the remaining 22% say there is ‘no optimisation’ of media buying.

The research is based on a survey of more than 600 businesses, which was publicised by Econsultancy and Adobe to our respective user bases in July this year. 

To what extent do you or your agency (or your clients) optimise media buying across different digital channels?

Tellingly, the research has found that those companies who are able to quantify improvements from media optimisation are seeing, on average, an uplift of 28% in performance. 

According to the report, the top three benefits of media optimisation are reduced cost per acquisition, reduced media costs and more sales. 

What do we mean by media optimisation? This is about having an integrated approach to planning and buying paid-for digital media, so that the media mix is geared towards meeting overall business goals as effectively as possible.

While two thirds of companies agree that their 'media mix is driven by business goals', only 19% say they have a 'single view of campaign performance across search, social and display'.

Many companies find themselves in a position where advertising on these channels is being managed by different teams working with different technology platforms.   

'We have a single view of campaign performance across search, social and display'

This new Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing explores in detail how companies can optimise across these three paid-for digital channels, as well as looking at technological and resourcing challenges facing companies in this area.  

The on-going importance of paid media is evidenced by another survey carried out by Econsultancy as part of the research for a new Digital Marketing: Organisational Structures and Resourcing Report, to be published later this month.

According to this research, the average proportion of total digital marketing budget which is allocated to paid media is 40%. 

Linus Gregoriadis

Published 5 September, 2013 by Linus Gregoriadis

Linus Gregoriadis is Research Director at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn or Google+.

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