The roundup includes news about social commerce, artificial intelligence, ad revenues, and lots more. As usual, be sure to check out the Internet Statistics Database for further stats and insight.

21% of online shoppers have made a direct purchase from a social media ad

A new report by Episerver – based on a survey of more than 4,500 shoppers in eight countries – has highlighted consumer attitudes to digital commerce.

The survey found that the number of consumers researching items with voice-assisted devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home has increased 83% year-on-year.

Despite this, it appears there is still a disconnect between browsing and buying, with just 17% of respondents saying they make voice purchases at least once a month or more frequently. 43% of consumers cite a lack of security features as the number one reason they won’t make more purchases via voice-enabled devices, while 35% say it is down to a lack of product images.

Elsewhere, the report highlights how social media plays a key role in people’s path towards purchase, as 63% of respondents have clicked on a social media ad, with 33% of those going on to make a direct purchase as a result.

Governments seen as more trustworthy than influencers

Another week, another influencer-related headline. This time it comes from a study by UM, involving a survey of more than 56,000 active internet users across 81 countries.

The survey found that internet users are largely sceptical of social media, with only 8% believing that three-quarters or more of the information they get from social media is true.

Influencers were found to generate even less trust than the medium, with just 4% of internet users believing information that comes from influencers is mostly truthful. Interestingly, governments are seen as more trustworthy, with 12% of global internet users saying that information shared by governments is mostly truthful. This falls to 8% and 6% for people in the US and UK respectively.

trust in influencers

88% of brands are using AI, yet 55% are disappointed with the results

A new study by Forrester has delved into how marketers feel about the role of artificial intelligence in the industry. The report is based on an online survey of 156 martech decision-makers.

The study found that adoption of AI-powered marketing has shot up from 43% in 2016 to 88% today, reflecting AI’s increasing advances in martech, as well as marketers’ need for better decisions, greater productivity, and faster execution.

However, of those that have adopted an AI-driven marketing solution, 74% of respondents reported using AI in an “assistive” fashion. Only 26% of marketers reported using autonomous AI, which can act on its own insights and work collaboratively with marketers (without adding manual work).

An overview of AI copywriting

Forrester found that respondents’ responses to questions about their martech stack complexity revealed errors common of other manual technologies: 47% blamed their complicated martech stacks for their customer engagement tactics not being as relevant as they should be. Another 37% said it’s the reason customer engagement is not delivered in the optimal channel.

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Marketers allocate more budget to email as ROI increases

The latest research from the DMA has revealed that, on average, email now receives 17% of the total resources allocated to marketing budgets, with this figure increasing from 11% in 2017.

What’s more, the estimate of ROI for every £1 spent on email has increased by almost £10 since before GDPR. This is now set at £42.24 – up from £32.28 in 2017.

The DMA also states that 74% of marketers report seeing an increase in email open rates in the past 12 months, while 75% also report an increase in click through rates. 41% of marketers say they saw a reduction in opt-out rates, and 55% saw a reduction in spam complaints.

Finally, the percentage of marketers agreeing that they have a good or advanced expertise in email marketing has risen from 30% to 40% since the DMA’s previous survey back in 2017.

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US digital ad revenues surpassed $100bn in 2018

According to the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue report, US digital advertising revenues surpassed $100bn in 2018, increasing 22% from the previous year to hit a landmark $107.5bn.

Mobile accounted for 65% of 2018’s ad revenue – up 40% from 2017. Meanwhile, digital video saw an increase of 37%, and digital video on mobile devices rose 64% to reach $10.2bn.

Also on the rise is ad revenue from digital audio, increasing 23% to reach $2.3bn, while social media revenue also rose 31% to reach $29bn.

Ad blocking rates at three-year low

An audit by the Association for Online Publishing – which analysed data between Q1 2016 and Q4 2018 amongst AOP publisher members – found that ad blocking rates were at their lowest for three years in 2018.

According to the data, ad blocking rates fell to 10.3% in 2018.  This is compared to the average rates of 11.6% in 2017 and 12.5% in 2016.

In terms of devices, ad blocking rates on desktop declined to 20.5% in Q2 2018 after peaking at 30.4% in Q2 2016. However, the blocking of adverts on mobile devices continues to increase, doubling to 2.4% in Q4 2018 compared to the same quarter in 2017.

Despite the fall in ad blocking, the audit revealed an increase of estimated ‘lost’ revenue due to a rise in the number of overall impressions. Across AOP’s members, publishers lost more than £18.4m in 2018, compared to £13.7m in 2017. The median annual publisher loss in 2018 was £932,875.

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