Recently, Forrester Research released its projections for the growth of the interactive marketing space through 2016.
According to Forrester, $77 billion per year will be spent on digital marketing by that time, roughly the equivalent to the ad spend in television today. A few key observations from the research include:
- – Interactive marketing has established legitimacy within the marketing mix. Watch for digital programs to become a more strategic outlet for integrated communications.
- – Search will lose share among digital marketing tactics, but will still grow into a $33 billion/year channel.
- – Display, mobile and social all will enjoy healthy gains. Social will lag the growth of the other channels, but only because social programs tend to be less costly.
Clearly, the digital marketing industry is booming. Beyond the obvious growth trend, Forrester’s projection that an age of multi-channel digital communications is before us is most intriguing.
One could point to several factors that lead to these projections:
- 1. Online consumers are smarter and empowered with more research tools today than ever before. Even the simplest of online transactions is becoming more considered and scrutinized.
- 2. The evolution of the web itself has facilitated an environment of research and self-discovery. Consumers are relying on social networks, online reviews, video demonstrations, mobile applications, and other technologies to inform a purchase decision.
- 3. Smarter data analytics allow for a truer valuation of each online touch point.
It’s that last point that holds so much promise for web marketers. With digital marketing becoming more diversified, it’s fair to say that the days of launching a single-tactic campaign and watching the conversions roll in are gone. A multi-touch presence is required to engage and convert today’s sophisticated online consumer.
The challenge then is how best to optimize across channels. This high-spend, multi-touch digital environment will give rise to the digital orchestrator.
Google Understands the Trend
Perhaps it was coincidence that Forrester’s research was introduced the same week that Google, with which gyro has a business relationship, announced the public availability of its new Multi-Channel Funnels feature within Google Analytics. Multi-channel funnels are intended to empower users of Google Analytics to understand the full range of influences that lead to online conversion.
According to Google:
“When a customer buys or converts on your site, most conversion tracking tools credit the most recent link or ad clicked. In reality though, customers research, compare and make purchase decisions via multiple touch points across multiple channels. So marketers that measure return solely on the last channel that a customer touches before conversion are getting an incomplete picture, and potentially missing out on important opportunities to reach their customers.”
This form of conversion analysis is referred to as multi-channel attribution, and is certainly not a new concept. Early pioneers in multi-channel analytics include ClearSaleing, Atlas Solutions, DoubleClick, and Omniture. But these tools have been geared towards the advanced web analyst, and come with premium pricing. Now, Google has introduced similar insights to all its users … for free.
Given the latest Forrester data, it seems as if Google has timed this market perfectly. But this data is complex and can’t be entrusted to a novice web analyst. Google’s data alone won’t be enough to maximize digital investment.
The Digital Orchestrator
Just as a conductor leads his orchestra with poise and precision, the digital orchestrator must react and respond to the ever-changing dynamics of the connected world. Think of this role as Digital Planner 2.0.
What will separate the legitimate digital orchestrator from pretenders is a fluency in data. Equal parts of left and right brained activity will be necessary for brands to simultaneously delight, engage, convert and retain customers. Rapid iteration in communications and constant re-optimization will fill the daily to-do list. Data is the engine that facilitates all of this.
Google’s entry into multi-channel attribution is a huge step for the digital marketing community. Many organizations are only now being exposed to the complexities of the environment in which they market. Most of those aren’t prepared to respond to what they’re seeing.
The rise of the data-fluent digital orchestrator brings the promise of a communications competitive advantage for those that install this now requisite role.
Vice President, Global Practice Leader – Search
Cross-posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network
Follow Ryan on Twitter @RyanDeShazer.