This week we’ve got news about digital ad spend, digital literacy, AI and lots more to help beat the January blues.

Before we get going, make sure to take a look at our Internet Statistics Database for additional insights into a plethora of marketing topics.

FMCG has been identified as the highest paid sector in marketing

Results from Marketing Week’s Career and Salary Survey has revealed FMCG is the highest paid of 24 sectors in marketing, with FMCG marketers averaging a £63,916 annual pay packet. The Career and Salary Survey was conducted across respondents with various levels of seniority, most of whom originate from the UK (83%).

Salaries for ‘gaming and gambling’ and ‘health and pharmaceuticals’ were ranked second and third respectively. Meanwhile, education was identified as the worst paid industry, with marketing employees accruing £44,424 on average – 30.5% less than their FMCG counterparts.

It’s not all good news for FMCG, however, as further insight showed there to be a 29% gender pay gap in this sector. While this is not the worst result of the set – ‘charity/not-for-profit’ claimed that title with an abysmal 47% gap – it is certainly not the best, requiring much improvement if it wants to compete with the leading sectors on this issue.

The best digital marketing stats we've seen this week

UK businesses are losing £10 billion in productivity per year through lack of data literacy

UK businesses are missing out on £10bn in productivity every year because the workforce is ill-equipped for the digital age, according to Accenture.

The study attributes this to a lack of data literacy skills (the ability to read, analyse and work with data), with just 17% of respondents claiming that they are confident in their skills in this area.

Companies also appear to be ineffective at providing the correct data tools for their employees’ skill levels, aggravating the situation and causing the majority (67%) to become ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘unhappy’ when working with data they are supplied with.

Indeed, results of the survey suggest that just 16% of organisations take worker’s data literacy competency into consideration when providing data processing software. As a result, one fifth of employees procrastinate on tasks involving data, thereby contributing to the £10bn in productivity losses.

data and analytics

APAC retailers drive customer engagement by 19% with AI

New research from Microsoft Asia and IDC Asia/Pacific reveals that APAC retailers that have adopted AI have seen improvements of between 16-19% in customer engagement, profit margins and business intelligence.

The same study expects to see an even higher increase of between 37-44% across these same areas by 2021.

Microsoft Asia AI retail impact

Chart via Microsoft Asia

Having seen positive growth, and a current total value of $1.5trillion, ecommerce in the APAC region is a very crowded and competitive market, causing online and offline retailers to turn to AI to help give them the upper hand against their peers.

According to Microsoft, 71% of retail decision-makers consider AI to be very important when it comes to how competitive their organisations are, despite just 33% having implemented AI as part of their marketing strategies. This has been often cited as down to a lack of infrastructure and skills in the industry needed to ensure any application of AI is successful.

Global ad spend growth forecast at 3.9% in 2020

A report released this week by Dentsu Aegis Network has predicted a 3.9% increase in global digital ad spend in 2020 ($615.4bn), up significantly from 2.6% during 2019.

The prediction is based on a variety of popular events happening this year, including the Tokyo Olympic Games, the US Presidential Election and UEFA Championships, among others.

Factors such as slow economic progress have affected some markets, however – particularly Europe, where ad spend in Germany, Spain and Italy are predicted to decline by 1.5%, 1.3% and 0.1% respectively.

On the contrary, a few countries are experiencing predicted ad spend beyond that of the average global statistic. India, in particular, is predicted to increase its ad spend by 10.9% this year as it continues to adopt a more digitally-focused economy, fortified by its large population consuming digital products and technologies in domestic settings.

53% of publishers say that podcasting initiatives will be important to them this year

Podcasting initiatives are becoming ever more important to publishers, according to a recent report from Reuter’s Institute.

In a study, 53% of participants from both traditional and digital-born publishing companies said that daily news podcasts and chat interview podcasts were important audio initiatives for their organisations in 2020. Serialised podcasts came in at a close third – 47%.

This comes as podcasts experience sharp growth in popularity and become more easily accessible and measurable. As a result, brands are turning to the medium to generate further revenue and to create more diverse, high-quality content.

However, despite that fact that the US podcasting market is predicted to reach a worth of $1bn by 2021, many companies are hesitant to adopt the format due to continued ambiguity over monetisation and return on investment.

Creating a podcast strategy: Five tips for brands

US news publishers lost $2.8 billion in 2019 due to keyword blacklisters blocking safe content

Key findings from a report commissioned by the University of Baltimore and conducted by cybersecurity company CHEQ have demonstrated the amount of money lost to mistaken digital advertising blacklisters (such as display and video ad networks).

Blacklisters, in this context, scour webpage copy for offending keywords and tags and then prevent advertising from appearing next to that copy if any words are flagged.

The Economic Costs of Keyword Blacklists for Online Publishers report claims that, out of a total $12bn spent by US advertisers on digital news inventory, $2.8bn is lost due to keyword blacklisters blocking safe content – that’s equal to around 1 in every 4 dollars spent.

Blacklists are reported to have increased the number of banned keywords as brand safety becomes more important to companies dealing in online advertising. ‘Sex’, ‘kill’ and ‘death’ are a few such commonly blocked words, and news websites bear the brunt of this when it comes to reporting on a death of a Game of Thrones character, or an update on lives of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, for example. According to the report, LGBT publishers are affected even more negatively; stating that the blacklisting of words like ‘lesbian’ cause significant damage to their advertising revenues.

Accidental blacklisting also appears to be a global problem too, although on a smaller scale; UK publishers lost £220million in revenue over the same time period, as well as publishers in Japan ($98million) and Australia ($84million).

Getting to Grips with Digital Advertising Best Practice Guide