Last-touch data accuracy is a top concern for 69% of DTC Marketers, yet click-based data still reigns as their primary measurement tool.

Measured’s The State of DTC Marketing Measurement Survey 2022, produced in collaboration with Sequent Partners and released this week, reveals that for 69% of marketers, the accuracy of click-based data gives them cause for concern, but 80% still use it as a primary metric. In addition, based on responses from over 300 DTC marketing executives, the study showed that the average executive spent about a quarter of their time managing data reporting activities. Some respondents spent more than 25 hours per week wrangling reports.

While 81% of marketers report that they can tie media spend to the business results that they’re after, that doesn’t mean that they are not ready for better ways to measure and test the success of their marketing plans.

Not surprisingly, the report also revealed that DTC marketers’ technology investment budgets were earmarked primarily for acquiring new data reporting and strategy testing tools.

Better The Data You Know? 

Compliance complexity and tech changes have kept DTC marketers hungry for alternatives but bound to legacy tools and methods, innovating when they can and sticking with what they know when they cannot find better tools.

“New privacy rules restricting user-level tracking and shortening attribution lookback windows have had a significant impact on measurement systems and capabilities for media platforms and attribution vendors,” said Alice Sylvester, Partner at Sequent Partners, in a press release. “These challenges, added to rapid shifts in consumer behavior caused by unpredictable global events, have kept marketers in reactive mode for the past few years.”

DTC marketers also shied away from incrementality experiments (4.7%) and multi-touch attribution (2.5%) as a primary measurement tool, due to compliance concerns, according to the report.

The study also revealed that, as in years past, Facebook, Instagram, Google, and YouTube are the most often used channels by DTC marketers, with Meta and Google holding over 63% of the average DTC marketer’s spend.

The Big Four may do exceptionally well with US-based direct-to-consumer brands in the future, as they have outspent other types of companies in terms of the share of revenue directed to marketing for years—and revenues are rising. Currently, 1 in 7 sales online is through a D2C channel per an eMarketer study. In addition, US-based direct-to-consumer eCommerce sales rose from $36.08 billion in 2016 to $128.33 billion in 2021, with some analysts predicting the market will reach $212.90 billion by the end of 2024.

The Takeaway:

As direct-to-consumer continues to scale, marketers will need tools that offer a broad range of attribution management features and compliant tracking and testing options. That’s an opportunity for enterprising ad tech companies and the Big Four to gain marketers’ loyalty and more of their ad spend and MarTech dollars.