7 Stats that Show the State of Digital Marketing in the Retail Sector

The pace of change in digital marketing is so rapid that it can be difficult to keep up. For retail marketers things are even faster paced, given that retail is always at the cutting edge of digital marketing. So taking a breath and doing a bit of benchmarking within your industry is no bad thing - to see whether you're ahead of or behind the curve - and 2 recent surveys can help you to do just that.The first is eMarketer's Retail Industry 2014: Digital Ad Spending Forecasts and Trends, one of a number of digital marketing benchmark reports eMarketer has produced for different industry verticals. The second is a survey into the approaches and opinions of senior level retail marketers conducted by personalized digital marketing experts Conversant. Both studies are US-based, but as the UK are US are closely aligned in their digital marketing habits, we thought the results were interesting nonetheless.Here are the 7 key insights from both reports:1. US Digital Retail Marketers are Spending an Average of 39% of their Total Marketing Budgets on Digital (Conversant)That makes retail the leading sector in the US when it comes to digital ad spending - the average across all industries is 18%. 39% of the sample were spending more than 50% of their budgets on digital.2. Retail Digital Ad Spend in the US is Set to Rise from $11bn This Year to $17.4bn in 2018 (eMarketer)That's a compound growth rate of 12% per year. That growth is not as fast as expected in other industry sectors, mainly because they've got some catching up to do.3. 70% of Digital Retail Spend is on Direct Response Advertising and 30% on Brand Building (eMarketer)Here, Conversant's research echoes eMarketer's as 58% of their sample agreed that digital marketing wasn't just for direct response.4. Retargeting is Rated as Important by 74% of Senior Retail Marketers (Conversant)Although retargeting's limitations are beginning to become more evident, with 44% of respondents believing that retargeting takes too much credit for sales that would have happened anyway and 26% believing that it misses most of their target audience.5. Last Click Attribution Remains the Most Popular Form of Measurement (Conversant)Despite its limitations, 68% of the US Digital Retail Marketers still use last click attribution for measurement, although 57% use, or plan to use, an attribution platform.6. US Retail Marketers Will Invest 37% of their Digital Ad Spending into Mobile this Year (eMarketer)US retail brands will account for nearly 1/4 of all mobile ad spending in 2014, a larger slice than any other industry sector.7. The Areas of Most Interest to US Digital Marketers are Cross Device Marketing, RoI Measurement and Mobile MarketingCross device marketing was of interest to 60% of the sample, RoI measurement to 58% and mobile marketing to 53%. Integrating online and offline marketing data and social media marketing (both 44%) were the next most interesting topics. 2014 is going to be a busy year for retail digital marketers. Will last click attribution finally be replaced by multi-touch attribution models? Will budgets be allocated from retargeting to other digital prospecting? And will the problem of tracking users multiple devices be closer to resolution? With this sector moving so fast, ruthless prioritisation and rigorous testing are going to be key to delivering digital marketing that delivers the best results.