Study: Marketers Lack Trust in Digital Media; Poor Metrics Are a Culprit


SAN JOSE, Calif. – A new report says 95 percent of marketing leaders believe digital media must become more reliable and that 21 percent plan to reduce their spending this year because of inaccurate, questionable, or false digital media reporting. 

The report, “Engage at Every Stage: An Investigation of Video Activation,” from the CMO Council says marketers have also increased their scrutiny of platforms like Google and Facebook.

Among the findings:

  • 70 percent of brand leaders said that negative news headlines have impacted their budgets.
  • 73 percent want more transparency into traffic, viewers, and engagement.
  • 45 percent want real-time access to customer data and intelligence.
  • 40 percent want fees based on performance outcomes. 

Marketers also questioned viewability standards, with just 3 percent agreeing on the Media Rating Council’s (MRC) definition of 50 percent of content playing for two consecutive seconds with the sound off. Of those who agree with the standards, 30 percent said their approval is only because there isn’t a better metric to embrace. 

Many reported plans to increase their investments in online video ads, which 28 percent believe are more important than other media investments and 40 percent said are growing in importance. Ninety-five percent plan to increase investments in digital video in 2018, and nearly half will increase their spend by up to 25 percent. 

Insiders say the findings illustrate how marketers’ frustrations with digital media have continued to mount even as budgets put toward the channel, and especially formats like digital video, continue to grow. 

Erica Sweeney, a reporter with, says this stark contrast points to the uneasy push-pull marketers are feeling, where consumer demands for certain types of media can outpace the ability to gauge that media’s success. 

“This trend is compounded by the failure of some major digital advertising platforms like Facebook to transparently and accurately account for digital metrics and ad measurement,” Sweeney writes. 

She adds that these frustrations emerge as the role of the CMO, which historically has been focused on areas like creative strategy and branding, continues to shift to require more agility with technology and data and also the ability to better prove ROI. 

CMO Council says the need for greater transparency and reliability is crucial in this regard, as marketers that don’t live up to these expectations could see their accounts go up for review.

The CMO Council surveyed 233 marketing leaders and conducted interviews with brand leaders at Keurig, PepsiCo, Nestle Waters, and Cox Communications, among others.