Survey: ROAS Most Important Performance Indicator to CPG Marketers

Jacqueline Barba
Digital Editor
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According to new survey results on the future of outcome-based metrics and tools for marketing effectiveness, 67% of CPG marketers said that return on ad spend (ROAS) is the most significant advertising performance indicator for their business today. In addition, 16% indicated target audience reach was most critical, followed by purchase intent at 10% and clicks and online engagement at 7%. Brand Innovators conducted the survey in collaboration with NCSolutions (NCS).

When asked what methods marketers use to measure advertising campaign outcomes, almost 74% said market mix modeling, 71% said incremental sales lift, 42% said multi-touch attribution, 30% said last-click attribution and 13% cited other metrics including ROAS, site engagement and brand health tracking. Respondents were able to select multiple options.

The full survey findings are outlined in a report dubbed “Moving The Needle: Meet the Next Generation of Marketing Tools.” 

Data Clean Rooms
The report highlights the rise in interest of data clean rooms, also known as customer data platforms. Clean rooms have received increased attention over the past year as companies become more serious about privacy, data and in-housing their applications. Among CPG marketers surveyed, 59% indicated they evaluated a data clean room at some point over the last two years, with 20% planning to do so in the next 12 months. Just 20% indicated they have no plans to do so. The reasons cited by respondents for exploring a clean room included:

  • More control over data (58%)
  • Support first-party data strategy (53%)
  • Ease of aggregating data (49%)
  • Privacy (45%)

Third-Party Data
The importance of third-party data is underscored in the report by the range of purposes marketers noted. The top uses cited were customer acquisition (67%), first-party data enrichment (62%), personalization in campaign activations (54%) and outcomes measurement (43%).

Audience Targeting
Ninety-six percent of CPG marketers surveyed said they use some form of third-party targeting, and 68% specifically use purchase-based targets. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they use it for new customer acquisition, 62% for first-party data enrichment, 53% for personalization in campaign activations and 43% for outcomes measurement.

"The pandemic has accelerated and necessitated changes in our industry. This is the very reason we sought to collaborate with Brand Innovators on this CPG specific survey," Lance Brothers, chief revenue officer, NCSolutions, said in a recent media release. "CPG marketers face the eventual demise of cookies, changes to consumer privacy and the pandemic evolution of consumer behavior. This confluence of disruptions makes it critical to have the right campaign performance metrics at your fingertips. At NCS, our core business is to enable CPG brands with the right metrics like ROAS and sales lift and empower our clients with actionable data and the right insights to be competitive."

Connected TV and Social Media
The outlook for more significant investment in advertising in 2022 vs. 2021 is strong with 55% expecting their budgets to increase, while 18% of respondents expect a decrease in funding, per the report. Thirty percent of marketers said their budgets would increase between 1% and 10%; 10% predicted a rise of between 11%-21%; and 14% said their budgets would rise by more than 21%. Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed expect their budgets to remain the same.

In terms of marketing channels and which brands plan to increase their media budgets this year, 71% selected connected TV (CTV). Other top picks were social media (59%), retailer media networks and search–tied (49%) and mobile (35%).

Other noteworthy survey findings include:

  • In terms of changes marketers foresee in their campaigns/media strategies as a result of the active and pending Apple and Google privacy changes, the top responses noted "a greater emphasis on measuring the return on ad spend from campaigns (55%) and moving budget to addressable channels (39%).
  • Forty-nine percent of marketers feel their demand-side platform (DSP) needs to optimize the bid price for their programmatic activation, 36% said it's somewhat important and 6% indicated it's unimportant.

The B2B-focused survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2021. It set out to examine CPG marketers' advertising spending plans and attitudes towards a range of next-generation marketing and advertising effectiveness tools and the various issues impacting their efficiency and the effectiveness of their ad campaigns. There were 69 CPG marketers surveyed. The Brand Innovators community includes over 25,000 senior brand marketers from Fortune 500 and other leading brands across the U.S.