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50+ Digital Marketing Statistics You Should Know for 2021

Last updated: January 22, 2021

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Marketing teams are facing increased pressure from consumers and C-level executives to keep pace with the demands to deliver personalized customer experiences and show definitive campaign ROI. With consumer demands changing so rapidly, and the strategies to keep pace with them constantly evolving, it can be challenging for marketing teams to keep up with where the industry stands, and what they should be prioritizing to achieve success.  

What is Digital Marketing and Why Is It Important?

Digital marketing is any marketing initiative that relies on online media channels and connected devices to create a more seamless customer experience. Typically this involves leveraging devices such as mobile phones, desktop computers, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to share a cohesive message across various touchpoints.

As people are spending more time than ever on online channels, digital marketing is critical to today’s marketers . Additionally, advancements in technology have transformed the way marketers can utilize customer data collected from these channels, making it possible to derive more granular inisghts and create more personalized experiences.

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Key Digital Marketing Statistics to Keep in Mind in 2021

To help marketing teams keep track of key trends in the realm of customer experience, customer journey mapping, and how to consistently measure the impact of marketing efforts, we have compiled an in-depth list of marketing analytics statistics. These insights will help marketing teams benchmark their own efforts, and determine where they need to be investing more time and resources to ensure marketing campaign success. To create this list, we looked into studies around:

Explore 50+ marketing statistics that marketers across industries should keep in mind in 2021:

Customer Experience Statistics 

Modern consumers demand a high-degree of personalization when it comes to brand engagements. If marketing teams are not targeting customers and prospects with messaging that speaks to their interests, purchase history, and location on the path to purchase, consumers will tune out. With this in mind, marketing teams should aim to understand consumers at an individual level.

  • 86 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. 
  • Two-thirds of marketers say they largely compete on the basis of customer experience. 81 percent of marketers say they expect to be competing largely or entirely on the basis of customer experience in the next two years. 
  • Customer experience is becoming increasingly important for organizations. In 2017, about 20 percent of CX programs fell below customer expectations. In 2019, 96 percent of organizations met or exceeded consumer expectations. 
  • 3 out of 4 CX leaders (75 percent) note that they have seen a positive correlation between customer satisfaction and business objectives.
  • Budgets are increasing for CX. In 2017, only 47 percent of survey respondents expected their budgets to increase for customer experience. In 2019, that number has risen to 74 percent.
  • Consumers are inclined to switch brands to those that speak to their needs – with 52 percent stating they would switch brands if they were not getting custom messages and offerings. 
  • As many brands turn to automation to reach consumers in real-time, customer experience mapping and personalized content are considered the best ways to optimize automation initiatives. 
  • In the past year, there were 2.5 billion visits to Google Account pages to adjust ad personalization preferences.
  • 38 percent of consumers state that they are more loyal now than they were two years ago – 57 percent say they would switch to a competitor if they provided a better experience.

Data-Driven Marketing Statistics

Marketing teams are turning to their stores of big data to make crucial campaigns decisions and reach consumers with personalized, people-based messaging. Consider the following:

  • Data-driven marketing is a top priority for marketing leaders – 40 percent of organizations aim to increase data-driven marketing budgets, and 64 percent of marketing leaders report that data-driven strategies are vital in today’s economy. The top usages were: 
      • Customer journey mapping / analysis 
      • A/B testing 
      • Website personalization
      • Segmentation
  • Two out of three marketers state data-based decisions to be more effective than gut instincts.  
  • Data-driven marketing increases ROI, with campaigns that leverage data-driven personalization reporting 5-8x ROI for their campaign spend. 
  • About 3 out of every 4 marketing leaders surveyed (76 percent) base decisions on data analytics.
  • When surveyed, 32 percent of marketers identified marketing analytics and competitive insights as the most important factors in supporting their marketing strategies over the last 18 months. This ranked higher than any other category. 
  • Marketing analytics is the top investment for marketers, raking up 16 percent of their annual budgets.
  • Although many organizations are realizing the value of marketing analytics, 37 percent of marketers say that proving their value is one of their top three biggest challenges.

Advanced Marketing Analytics Statistics 

The personalized campaigns marketing teams hope to achieve through data-driven marketing require real-time analysis, AI, and automation. As a result, marketing teams are investing more in marketing analytics tools and platforms.

  • As of 2020, the use of analytics in marketing was 52.7 percent.
  • According to Think with Google, marketing leaders are more likely to emphasize these analytics tools and capabilities over industry laggards:
      • Leaders are 1.7x more likely to agree that adoption of machine learning and automation improves targeting, spend optimization, and personalization. 
      • Leaders are 2.3x as likely to leverage automation to manage campaign budgets and bids across multiple media channels in real time. 
      • Leaders are 53% more likely to think machine learning assists marketing teams in evaluating data to understand consumer intent. 
      • Leaders are 1.5x as likely to apply their digital measurement learnings to digital campaigns and investments in real time.

Even with increased focus and investment in analytics and analytics platforms, challenges remain. Consider the following: 

  • Marketing teams struggle to demonstrate how these investments in analytics contribute to organizational success. 35 percent of marketers state they do not have the quantitative tools to demonstrate the impact of spend on company performance.

See where you may be coming up short in your marketing attribution strategy.

Data Quality Statistics 

Data quality is crucial in the era of data-driven marketing and personalization. Not only is good data necessary to inform strategy, it will also train AI and machine learning programs. If trained with poor data, these programs will not be as effective at placing targeted messages in real time. 

  • 54 percent of organizations state data quality and completeness is the biggest challenge with data-driven marketing.
  • 57 percent of marketers are incorrectly interpreting data and likely getting incorrect results. 
  • 47 percent of new data records have atleast one critical error. Only 3 percent of executives found that their departments data fell within the acceptable range of data quality

Managing this data does not come without its costs however. This year’s Marketing Data and Analytics Survey from Gartner found that 37 percent of respondents consider the amount of time spent manually pulling and preparing data to be a hinderance to team success. 

Marketing Attribution Statistics

Marketing teams continue to struggle with attributing specific engagement to purchases/conversions, and how specific touchpoints contribute to overall ROI.  

  • Most companies do not have access to quantitative metrics that prove the value of marketing spend
  • 68 percent say improving the measurability of ROI is a top priority when it comes to data-driven strategies. 
  • 9 percent of marketers rate their company’s understanding of data-driven attribution as excellent. 
      • 29 percent rank their understanding as good.
      • 27 percent are neutral.
      • 12 percent rate it as very poor.
      • 22 percent rate it below average. 
  • 44 percent of marketing professionals plan to implement multi-touch attribution in the next year. 
  • 66 percent of marketers agree on the importance of data analytics and 63 percent agree that data literacy is important. However, about half of survey respondents have teams with a skillset that is at par or below expectations, leaving room for improvement.
  • These positions are also difficult to fill, with over one third of marketers (37 percent) citing data analysis as one of the hardest positions to recruit.
  • In almost half of organizations (45 percent), data scientists are performing more basic tasks (including data visualization) than data analysis. 
  • Over half of marketers do not trust their modeling techniques, showing there is a disconnect between where analytics teams are today and where they are trying to get to.
  • Additionally, over half (57 percent) of marketers worldwide feel overwhelmed by the incoming data.
  • About 1 out of every 4 marketing dollars (26 percent) is spent on paid media. In order to ensure these dollars are not wasted, companies need an advanced attribution model to correctly identify what is working and what is not.
  • Measuring offline media can be difficult for marketers. This is reflective in CMOs' attitude toward offline spend, should the economy suffer. Only 16 percent of CMOs would increase offline media spend if the economy was uncertain, while 32 percent of CMOs would decrease their spend.

Brand Awareness Statistics

Real time data-driven marketing can cause marketing teams to focus on direct response advertising – pushing short-term campaigns geared at getting consumers to take a specific action. However, organizations should also be using this data to create brand awareness and value that align with their target audience.  These are the types of campaigns that build consumer loyalty and maintain customer retention. 

Though direct response campaigns are easier to measure in terms of value to the organization – marketing teams should keep these brand building stats in mind: 

  • 64 percent of customers with a brand relationship claim aligned values as the reason. 
  • 56 percent of customers are more loyal to brands that align with their values, or “get them.”
  • Forrester discovered that emotional resonance is important for branding, with 50 percent of branding derived from its ability to resonate with users.
  • 5-7 impressions are typically required before a consumer will recall your brand.

Even considering the benefits of brand building campaigns, many organizations have trouble relating to consumers. Marketing teams need to leverage consumer data to align values with the target audience, and implement attribution models that can measure the impact of these campaigns on business success in order to avoid these pitfalls: 

  • Only six out of ten marketers think their brand is aligned with their organization’s overall strategy. 
  • Marketers are spending 15.9 percent of their advertising budget on branding, making it their largest campaign-related line item.
  • 58 percent of marketers believe that brand plays a critical role when making a purchase decision for prospects.
  • 35 percent of marketers face challenges when managing their brand worldwide.
  • 35 percent of marketers also struggle with keeping their brand relevant.
  • Building purpose into your brand can have a big payoff, with purpose-driven brands outperforming the stock market by 120 percent

About 66 percent of Millennials and Gen Z prefer brands that have a mission statement or stand for something.

Email Marketing Statistics

As marketers navigate challenges brought on by the pandemic, email marketing will play an important role in maintaining connections with customers even when physical, in-person shopping isn’t an option.

  • Nearly 50 percent of marketers plan to send more email in the next 3-6 months.
  • Emails have a 50 to 100 times higher click-through-rate when compared to Facebook and Twitter.
  • Emails reach 85 percent of the people they are sent to and have an open rate of 22.86 percent and click-through rate of 3.71 percent.
  • For every $1 marketers spend on email marketing, they receive $42 in return
  • 78 percent of marketers say list segmentation is a marketing automation feature they can’t live without.

Social Media Marketing Statistics

In 2020, social media stepped up in many ways for brands as public health concerns and restrictions forced marketers to find new ways to actively engage with customers. Additionally, as the usage of digital marketing platforms continues, advancements in technology solutions are allowing marketers to find even greater value out of these channels.

  • 75 percent of B2B buyers and 84 percent of C-suite executives say they use social media to make purchasing decisions.
  • Over 3.6 billion people used social media worldwide in 2021, and that number is projected to increase to almost 4.41 billion by 2025.
  • Millennials continue to drive social media usage with 90.4 percent of Millennials being active on social media in 2019, followed by 77.5 percent of Generation X, and 48.2 percent of Baby Boomers.
  • Facebook has the highest number of monthly active users at 2.7 billion.

Ecommerce Statistics

  • It is expected that mobile commerce will take a market share of ecommerce of 72.9 percent by 2021.
  • Roughly 9 percent of people say they use voice technology to shop once a week or more frequently.
  • eCommerce is expected to account for 17.5 percent of total global retail sales by 2021
  • More than two thirds of e-commerce website traffic comes from Google, with 43% coming from organic and 26% coming from CPC.
  • 65 percent of consumers look up price comparison information for a product while shopping in-store, and 49 percent look at online reviews before making a purchase.

Final Thoughts 

As marketers invest more in big data and data-driven marketing strategies, they should keep this information in mind to ensure they are not making common mistakes around attribution or personalization – ensuring the best customer experience and measurable ROI.

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Written by Marketing Evolution