In 2010, 26% of agencies said clients "weren't asking for" digital media. That dropped to 4% this year as it appears marketers who felt this way a year ago may have realized digital is a requirement, not an option. The fact that "budgeting to hire and train a new staff member" shot from 14% to 51% from 2010 to 2011 shows us regional agencies now have realized that digital media may be so complex that existing staff with different backgrounds and expertise will not naturally become digital-media experts. Or it could be the costs of learning on the job are too great. We predict the major "aha!" in 2012 will be that budgeting to hire just one staff member will not be enough. Social content, web development, analytics, SEM and display are all significantly different subspecialties within digital. Still, most agencies do not have the budget or need to hire full-timers in each of these areas.
If you ask people who have been working in display (online, mobile, video) for a while about the notion of click-thru-rates as a metric of success, they will most likely scoff at it. Real ROI, effective cost per action, and brand lift are often considered more meaningful metrics for success. Forty-eight percent of those surveyed view CTR as the primary metric for success while another 20% view CPM. This data shows that regional agencies are still in the introductory learning stage of digital media. If you're a digital veteran, you may remember working on your first several campaigns and eyeing the CTR as the campaigns progressed. You may have gotten excited about a rising CTR only to feel a bit empty when a campaign finished: "Great, we got lots of clicks, but does that really mean we succeeded?" Since many agencies (and likely their clients) are focusing on CTR and CPM to define success, it's not surprising how the next question plays out, "How successful would you rate your past digital campaigns?" Only 2% of regional agencies rated their past campaigns as "very successful" because they and their clients have not established healthy metrics for campaign success.