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Study Shows How Marketers Buy Digital Ads

buy-digital-ads-2Buying digital ads is a big part of the marketing process in this day and age. After all, if you want to reach your audience members, you have to show up where they’re most likely to be looking, and that tends to be online. But as technology evolves, so does the ad buying process, requiring marketers to constantly adapt. That’s why Steelhouse decided to partner with Forrester early on in 2016 to find out what challenges marketers are dealing with when they buy digital ads. For the study, Forrester sent 153 marketers an online survey that asked how they bought digital media, including their preferred ad types, the marketing technology they like to use, the pricing methods they prefer, and more. Check out the summary of the results.

Marketers Buy a Wide Variety of Ad Types

It probably comes as no surprise that most marketers buy more than one type of ad. But which ones are among the most popular? This study found that social advertising takes the top spot, since 89 percent of marketers buy this type of ad. Next is display banner ads, as 77 percent of marketers buy these, though mobile banner ads are not far behind at 73 percent.

Video advertising and email advertising are next on the list of popular ad types, with 65 percent and 60 percent, respectively. And paid search was last in this study, since 56 percent of marketers said they buy this type of ad.

Marketers Buy Ads from Multiple Vendors

When you have lots of ad types to choose from, it makes sense that you might buy from several vendors. In fact, according to this study, the average marketer buys from 3.8 vendors. No wonder about 39 percent think there are too many vendors that they have to try to manage.

It doesn’t help that many vendors don’t provide enough information during the ad buying process, at least according to 48 percent of the marketers in this study. Furthermore, 48 percent said vendors are not transparent enough when it comes to pricing. Just 10 percent said they don’t face any specific challenges when dealing with vendors.

Most Use Marketing Technology to Help Manage Digital Ads

When you’re buying multiple types of ad across different platforms, you might need some help in the form of technology-based marketing tools. And that’s what most marketers do. In particular, most marketers in this study use about five tools to help them manage ads.

These tools may do everything from automating the digital ad buying process to analyzing advertising success on each platform. They may also manage content and data. In fact, 78 percent of marketers who responded to this survey said they use data management platforms to help with the process of buying ads.

Using a Single Platform for Digital Ads Appeals to Many Marketers

One way to simplify ad buying is to stick to a single platform that allows marketers to buy and manage their ads. This would allow marketers to have more information at their fingertips and feel more in control over their campaign. This would also offer more flexibility and a better ROI, according to about half of this survey’s respondents.

Of the marketers who said they’d like a single platform for ad buying, 60 percent said they preferred it because it would simplify vendor management. About 56 percent said it’d be more cost effective, while 51 percent said it could help prevent loss of data.

Overall, 86 percent said that a single platform for ad buys would have a high impact on the ability to measure their marketing effort’s effect on their business. A few other benefits that at least 80 percent of respondents thought a single platform might have include improved lead quality, the ability to move into new markets, and better brand awareness.

You can download the full report here, and then be sure to let us know your thoughts on the findings. Do they align with your experiences buying digital ads? And do you think a single platform would help when buying digital ads?