7 Nightmarish Marketing Stats to Keep You Up at Night

Forget zombies and vampires — it’s dismal ROI numbers and shrinking budgets that make me afraid to turn off the office lights at the end of the day.

Marketers are experts at finding the data that we need to support our latest campaigns, but lurking underneath the upbeat reports on conversions is the dark side of marketing stats.

marketing stats that are super scary

In the spirit of Halloween we’re shining a light on seven of the scariest pieces of data we could find. Hopefully they won’t haunt your dreams for too long.

Only 12% of marketers say they create content with specific customers, targets, marketers, or industries in mind.

If you look at the inverse of this stat it’s even more frightening: 88% of us are just throwing content out into the void.

It’s like we’re producing an army of zombie content. That’s a problem.

The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs’ recent survey revealed that 76% of B2B marketers are planning to create MORE content in 2016 than they did in 2015, so the noise is only going to get louder.

With more and more content being created in every single industry, only the strong are going to survive. Do a thorough audit of your content and make sure you don’t have any zombified pieces infecting your websites.

Remember, averting the zombie content apocalypse is everyone’s job.

It could take almost 6 years for organic social media clicks to pay off the cost of acquiring your followers.

Through some impressive mental gymnastics and quite a lot of math, Shane Snow of Contently makes a cogent argument for why paid social media actually has a much better ROI than organic.

Taking into account the cost of social media management by an employee or agency and the likelihood of your social audience to take a profitable action, Shane concludes that you should really just be paying for the social traffic up front.

For anybody who has invested hours of time and massive amounts of creativity into social media, this stat alone may be enough to make you want to hide under your desk.

That’s where I’m headed with this bucket of Halloween candy.

45% of marketers still either don’t formally evaluate their analytics for quality and accuracy, or, even worse, don’t know if they do or not.

This one, as reported by VentureBeat, is part of an article that declares that the biggest challenge for marketing analytics is marketers themselves.

Dan Slagen argues:

Any CMO or VP of marketing will tell you: It’s challenging to find genuine marketing talent. Specifically, one of the most competitive positions within marketing to hire for is analytics, which is why it’s historically been an area of outsourcing and vendor reliance. Utilizing marketing analytics vendors isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless it is.

Clearly if some of us aren’t even sure if we’re checking to see if our numbers are accurate, there may be a very big monster in our closet.

We should be making data-driven decisions at every turn, so if that data is untested and/or inaccurate, our choice may be just as questionable as those of horror movie characters who go investigate mysterious noises in their attic.

CTR for standard banners was 0.12%, while those for rich media ads were .44%

Ad blindness has long been a problem for online advertising, but these numbers from Emarketer make it clear just how serious things have become.

To be clear, results under half a percentage point are being held up as the best case scenario for display ads.

It’s kind of like saying that .44% of the world will survive an alien invasion.

It sounds good if you say that it’s 267% better than the .12% that would live through a meteor crash, but it still makes you want to go live in a cave somewhere.

57% of readers said that they’d prefer that their favorite blogs and news sites run banner ads instead of sponsored articles.

So you might think that the answer to the online advertising conundrum is to use content, which is generally very effective, as a means of advertising by creating sponsored content.

Unfortunately consumers are already onto to this tactic, and they don’t appreciate it.

There’s still a good deal of misunderstanding about what exactly a “sponsored post” is and how it’s produced, and this makes readers highly distrustful of the tactic.

In fact, 59% of readers find a news site less credible if it runs articles sponsored by a brand, so there’s really no winner in this situation.

Except maybe the ones who don’t realize the post is sponsored at all. They’re like the people in zombie movies who don’t the zombies have taken over their town. They might be blissfully unaware of the problem, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

If you fail to demonstrate positive ROI, you’re nine times more likely to see a decrease in your marketing budget for next year.

This one is really scary if you think about how difficult it can be to really demonstrate ROI accurately. From organic search and Google Analytics to a CRM to a sales team…there are so many places where good data can go wrong.

And what if your focus has been on brand awareness or another nebulous, hard-to-track goal? According to Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2015, you and your budget might be in some serious danger.

There’s still two months left in 2015, so go out there and demonstrate that positive ROI like your budget’s life depends on it!

Ad blocking grew by 41% globally in the last 12 months.

Remember that earlier stat about the terrible CTR for online display ads? That’s just going to get worse as ad blocking technology gets its tentacles into more and more facets of digital marketing.

If the CTR is .12% when people can actually SEE the ads, just imagine what it will be when a majority of browsers block the ads altogether? At that point even rich media ads with their best-case-scenario .44% CTR won’t have a shot.

Don’t Despair Over Depressing Marketing Stats

Of course we’ve gathered terrifying stats together in one place as part of the horror of Halloween, but these are by no means the only stats story out there.

Smart marketers have always found innovative ways to reach our audiences and provide them with true value, and we’ll continue to do so regardless of the negative numbers flying around.

So put on your costume, enjoy a good scare, and get your marketing weapons sharpened and ready for the home stretch of this year.

(And check out the antidote to these depressing stats: uplifting marketing quotes.)

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Andrea Fryrear
About the Author:

Andrea Fryrear

Andrea loves to dissect marketing buzzwords and fads looking for the pearls of wisdom at their cores. Her favorite topic is agile marketing, which she believes holds the key to a more fulfilling (and less stressful) marketing career for individuals and a more powerful marketing department for business. When not scrutinizing the latest agile methodologies, Andrea can be found on the volleyball court, at the park with her two delightful kids, or baking “calorie-free” cookies. Connect with her on Twitter @AndreaFryrear, or on LinkedIn.

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