Almost 2,000 marketers around the world were asked by Nielsen to rank the order of importance of a variety of marketing tactics from most important (1) to least important (9) when considering the contribution to campaign performance.

Marketing Tactics Influencing Campaign Performance

The results of Nielsen’s 5th Global Annual Marketing Report indicate that audience targeting came out on top, with an average rank of 4.1. Following closely was a grouping of ad creative, audience reach, and data quality, each with an average rank of 4.2.

Rounding out the top 5 was personalization (average rank of 4.6), ahead of path-to-purchase message sequencing (5), AI/machine learning (5.1), and publisher placement (5.3).

Almost 5 years ago Nielsen released a report which found that at least for CPG campaigns, creative (quality/messaging) had a far greater contribution to sales lift from advertising than did reach or targeting. A more recent survey from Westwood One and Advertiser Perceptions, however, revealed that marketers and agencies believed that targeting was a bigger driver of sales than creative or reach.

One factor unique to this latest survey is data quality. Only about 1 in 4 (26% of) survey respondents strongly agree that they have access to the quality audience data they need to get the most out of their media budget, though it’s true that an additional 45% somewhat agree that they do. This is supported by recent research from Ascend2, in which only 1 in 3 respondents said that the quality of their data allowed them to make effective decisions on where to spend marketing and/or sales resources, though another 55% somewhat agreed.

More than 1 in 3 of the Nielsen survey respondents report the following to be extremely or very difficult: data access (36%); identity resolution (36%); actionable data insights (36%); data accuracy/quality (35%); and data scale (34%). An additional third or so find these topics to be moderately difficult.

About the Data: The results are based on an online survey conducted December 2, 2021-January 1, 2022 among 1,943 global marketing professionals at or above the manager level, working with annual marketing budgets of at least $1 million. Respondents were from the auto, financial services, FMCG, technology, health care, pharmaceuticals, travel, tourism, and retail industries.

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