Digital marketing is supposed to be entirely measurable, but we all know that in reality that’s not the case.

The proliferation of digital touchpoints has made the path to purchase incredibly complex, which means marketing attribution and measuring ROI has also become more difficult.

A new report from Econsultancy and Oracle Marketing Cloud investigates marketers' ability to measure ROI from a range of digital channels.

Results from the Marketing Budgets 2015 survey show that paid search and email marketing have maintained their status among the top three digital channels for ability to measure success.

Just over half of respondents (52%) rated their ability to measure ROI from PPC as ‘good’, while another 35% rated it as ‘okay’.

For acquisition-focused email marketing those percentages were 44% and 41% respectively.

How do you rate your ability to measure ROI from the following digital channels or disciplines?

Among the worst performing channels were engagement-focused social media, mobile, and content marketing, although it’s surprising to note that video advertising achieved the lowest rating for ‘good’ (13%).

Results from a separate question show that there will be increased investment in content marketing this year, even though it achieved the lowest rating for measuring ROI (43% rated their ability as ‘poor’).

Important areas of focus for 2015

Respondents were asked to identify the single most important area of digital focus for their organisation in 2015.

This word cloud reveals the most common answers from client-side respondents, with customer experience appearing as the main focus along with content and lead generation.

These areas are also mentioned by agencies, but measuring ROI and joined-up data feature more prominently.

What is the single most important area of digital focus for your organisation in 2015?

And to finish, here are a few of the verbatim answers we received to this question:

  • “Full customer journey management and personalisation across all channels to fully understand ROI at customer level.”
  • “Providing a consistent experience across all digital channels for our prospects and existing clients.”
  • “Being able to better measure ROI, so that we know where and what to spend on in the digital world.” 

The Marketing Budgets 2015 Report looks at the extent to which companies are increasing their budgets across a range of channels and technologies.

Almost 600 companies participated in this research, which took the form of an online survey between December 2014 and January 2015.

David Moth

Published 26 March, 2015 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (3)

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, Founder and Author at Fresh Relevance

"Ability to measure" is about measurement uncertainty, not measurement size.

If your ability to measure the ROI of a channel is poor, this does not mean it's among the "worst performing channels" - it might be among the "best performing". The issue is that you don't know accurately.

over 3 years ago


Sally Ahmed, Digital Marketing Specialist at DuPont

I agree, measuring the ROI should not be a factor in cancelling a channel. Some companies might not focus on ROI for activities that goes without saying like content marketing for example. Everyone knows content is king, so the investment will continue in getting quality and specialist content generated regardless of the immediate ROI. I think this also applies to social media for the B2C sector. What I find odd is that companies are reporting high poor ROI measurements for Social channels, and I think for such a highly digital medium in comparison to display ads for example, which seems to be reporting better, the issue is tracking tools that are not in place to support any marketing activity across all channels.

over 3 years ago

Angus Jenkins

Angus Jenkins, Ecommerce Consultant at Personal

How's ROI being measured in this context: last click, first click, behavioural? Content/engagement campaigns will never score well if using a direct response methodology like last click.

over 3 years ago

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