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Key Insights: Revenue attribution, digital titans, advertising & AI forecasts

30-second summary: 
2020’s most valuable companies were Apple (US$1,993 billion), Microsoft (US$1,588 billion), Amazon (US$1,578 billion), and Google (US$1,046 billion).
Apple made US $65 billion in consumer electronic goods’ sales for Q4 2020, making it the leader.
How the iPhone 12 series promises to will enhance the AR experience which will inject potential spend into AR advertising that will cross $8 billion by the end of 2024.
Just 36% of marketing leaders have a measurable revenue attribution strategy in place while a mere 15% are in the process of rolling out a strategy.
95% of marketing leaders are seeing success from an implemented revenue attribution strategy while 31% described this success as best-in-class.
Top four departments involved in executing a revenue attribution strategy are – Marketing, Sales, Board of Directors, and Customer Service.
According to Statista, the digital advertising market is expected to reach US $398 billion in revenues for 2021.
The global AI revenue is forecasted at US $35 billion in 2021 with a catalyzed 3X growth up to US $126 billion by 2025.
North America (US $15 billion) is poised as the largest market for AI software with Asia-Pacific coming in second (US $10 billion), and Europe third (US $8 billion).
Buckle up for details on challenges, key industry players, patents, and a lot more.

Hello, 2021! Marketing leaders have struggled to swim abreast the ebbs and flow of 2020 and after braving these tides there lies an increased pressure on proving ROI and revenue success through their marketing efforts and investments. This week, we’re giving you a periscopic view of the revenue attribution strategy for 2021, challenges, the industry leaders, and refined details on forecasts for digital advertising, AI, and how Apple will potentially bring in billions for AR advertising.
Digital titans
We spotted how 2020 has been for the industry titans and what 2021 holds. A fine comb of Statista’s latest ‘Digital Economy Compass’:
Google advertising faced a -8% loss (vs 2019) closing at US $29.9 billion in global revenues
Facebook stock prices continually increased till Q3 2020, with US $21.1 billion in revenue and US $7.8 billion in net income (27% growth vs Q3 2019)
Facebook and Instagram’s cost-per-mille (CPM) & cost-per-click (CPC) in US$ by October 2020 was 2.70 and 0.35 respectively 
Gaming stands tall as a sweet spot for investments, acquisition, and growth as Microsoft strengthened its COVID-19-resilient gaming business with an investment in ZeniMax Media
2020’s most valuable companies were Apple (US$1,993 billion), Microsoft (US$1,588 billion), Amazon (US$1,578 billion), and Google (US$1,046 billion)
The big Apple spotlight
Apple has been one of the most adaptive in terms of product and sales strategy that centred around COVID-19’s impact on consumer behavior resulting in an 18% growth in total COVID-19 related products which further segmented into – 

Wearables, Home and accessories: +23% (vs 2019)
Service: +17% (vs 2019)

Apple revenue 2020 – The consumer electronic goods leader
Apple made US $65 billion in consumer electronic goods’ sales for Q4 2020, making it the leader. As mentioned above the Q1 2020 adaptability to new consumer behaviors has helped Apple remain the front runner.

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The AR move and ad spend boost
With its latest iPhone 12 series promise the most sophisticated back-facing Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) camera which will enhance the AR experience which will inject potential spend into AR advertising that will cross $8 billion by the end of 2024.

Revenue attribution – But what’s the strategy?
DemandLab’s ‘Revenue Attribution Outlook Survey’ surveyed marketing leaders about their plans, challenges, and budgets for revenue attribution, and here are some key findings:
95% of marketing leaders are seeing success from an implemented revenue attribution strategy while 31% described this success as best-in-class
Top four departments involved in executing a revenue attribution strategy are – Marketing, Sales, Board of Directors, and Customer Service
58% agree to be using a mix of both internal and external resources for revenue attribution implementation and optimizations
10% of marketing leaders have outsourced the data aggregation part of revenue attribution strategy
Current scenario, budget allocation, and benefits
Just 36% of marketing leaders have a measurable revenue attribution strategy in place while a mere 15% are in the process of rolling out a strategy. 

43% of marketing leaders are maintaining their budgets while 32% are increasing their budgets on revenue attribution.
Top five benefits of having a revenue attribution strategy
Executives also saw these as the top five benefits of having a revenue attribution strategy:
Better decision making – 59%
Marketing and sales alignment – 44%
Campaign optimization – 38%
Increased channel effectiveness – 37%
Attribution of ROI to marketing – 29%
Most challenging channels to analyze revenue attribution
Proving marketing ROI stands as a major challenge, however, this list details the exact channels that are pain points for analyzing revenue success:
Social media marketing (SMM) – 44%
Content marketing – 39%
Display advertising – 38%
Email marketing – 33%
Video marketing – 28%
Paid search – 23%
SEO – 18%
Revenue attribution strategy – Success barriers
Collecting, analyzing, and sharing the data holds a key place in measuring success. These were the barriers that stood:

Digital advertising forecast 2021 – Deep dive
According to Statista’s latest ‘Digital Economy Compass’ the digital advertising market is expected to reach US $398 billion in revenues for 2021 and further expand to US$470 billion by 2025.
Digital advertising 2021 – Market segments
Search advertising will have a lion’s share in the market, here is a complete breakdown of the projected market revenues for 2021:
Search advertising – US $175 billion
Social media advertising – US $114 billion 
Banner advertising – US $59 billion
Video advertising – US $31 billion
Classifieds – US $20 billion
In fact, this hierarchy will continue to remain proportionate until 2025.
Key industry players
There’s a wide spectrum of verticals in the digital advertising industry namely – 
Agencies and trading desks
DSPs (Demand side platforms)
Ad networks
SSPs (Supply-side platforms)
Publishers
Statista created an interesting landscape view of the key industry players as shown below.

AI forecast 2021 – Industry, leadings regions, and patent holders
The global AI revenue is forecasted at US $35 billion in 2021 with a catalyzed 3X growth up to US $126 billion by 2025. The industry is already seeing thousands of patents from tech giants, these are the top patent holders of AI applications:
Microsoft
IBM
Samsung
Qualcomm
Google

According to Statista’s forecast for 2021, North America (US $15 billion) is poised as the largest market for AI software with Asia-Pacific coming in second (US $10 billion), and Europe third (US $8 billion).

ClickZ readers’ choice for the week
This week our readers have been keen on gleaning insights on how, where, and when they can reach their target customers through email and content marketing, followed by trends in retail and marketing outlined for 2021.
Key Insights: 2021 Strategic pearls on email and content marketing
Five retail and marketing trends for 2021
The digital marketing forecast for 2021

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Key Insights: 2021 Strategic pearls on email and content marketing

30-second summary:
Consumers are becoming more conscious of how they shop, with an increased focus on small, minority-owned, women-owned, and Black-owned businesses.
Shopping this year has more sentimental value as shoppers look for a morale boost. Nearly, half, (43%) of consumers used shopping as a means to cheer up family and friends.
Mastercard predicted that 77% of Americans will choose to shop local while 75% of consumers intend to prefer shopping from businesses that share their personal values.
Email and content marketing have stood as pillars for brands through 2020, these will be a make or break factor for businesses to succeed in 2021.
Email marketing has an average ROI that is 4X higher than any other channel with APAC getting the highest open rates and EMEA winning the highest CTR.
The top seven industries in terms of open rates and CTR revealed.
Top priorities businesses must-have for email marketing 2021.
Lead generation, website traffic, and improving brand reputation are the top three priorities using content marketing.
56% of organizations spent between $10,000 to $25,000 on content marketing.
Website analytics tools and SEO tools were the top two used technologies for content marketing.
69% of businesses created content for “Top of the funnel” in 2020.
A drill-down of content marketing as a strategy and what makes content succeed in terms of strategy, views, shares, and more. Read on to unlock these insights.

We’re nearing the end of 2020 for good, and as we as people, consumers, and brands have learned, unlearned, and adapted to a lot of dynamics, this week we will take you through the pillars for brand success in 2020 – email marketing and content marketing. Their role in the minds of a more conscious consumer, best practices, and stats on what worked and what didn’t. Read on for a 20/20 strategic vision of 2021.
Consumers’ changing shopping attitudes
Consumers have shown exceptional resilience and adaptability to the pandemic and retail. Global payments giant, Mastercard highlighted that consumers are becoming more conscious of how they shop, with an increased focus on small, minority-owned, women-owned, and Black-owned businesses. 
In fact, shopping this year has more sentimental value as shoppers look for a morale boost. Nearly, half, (43%) of consumers used shopping as a means to cheer up family and friends while 40% shopped to get in the holiday spirit.

Mastercard predicted that 77% of Americans will choose to shop local while 75% of consumers intend to prefer shopping from businesses that share their personal values this holiday season. In fact, consumers would rather not receive a gift than accept one which has been purchased from a retailer that doesn’t align with their personal values.
Some key findings from the Mastercard study were:

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Total U.S. retail sales grew 4.1% for the expanded October 11-December 24 holiday season, compared to the same period in 2019
64% of consumers will actively avoid gifting cash this year
52% of respondents plan to ship more gifts to their loved ones’ homes to avoid person-to-person contact (hence emphasizing the importance of free-shopping for online retailers)
59% intend to spend the same or more money on holiday shopping (2020 vs 2019)
Almost half (43%) note having more to spend on holiday gifts because they haven’t spent as much as usual over the course of 2020
82% said they are likely to shop online this year

“While the holidays may look different this year, one thing is clear – Americans are shopping with a different perspective,”
said Linda Kirkpatrick, president, US Issuers at Mastercard

Top cities according to holiday shopping spend
Mastercard Spending Pulse analysis of retail sales in the 20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, where total retail sales grew 4.1% in October and cities including Atlanta, Houston, and Orlando emerged as leading the retail recovery. 

As consumers become increasingly conscious of their shopping preferences and habits, the importance for brands to have transparency and maintain the same communication and language across all channels will be a high priority. 
Since content and email marketing have stood as pillars for brands through 2020, these will be a make or break factor for businesses to succeed in 2021.

Email marketing: Performance overview 2020 and 2021 strategy
Email marketing has an average ROI that is 4X higher than any other channel. SMB digital marketing, Sendinblue, analyzed the data of 691 companies across 25 industries in 46 countries over one year/through 2020 to release its 2020 email marketing industry report. Here’s the email marketing overview in a snapshot.
Q1 –  Open rate peaked in March with 28.05% while CTR remained low
Q2 – CTR peaked in June at 6.45%. Interest in offers and emails rose substantially
Q3 – The best time to update your contact lists, set up automation workflows, or run A/B test in your mailings as the majority of people ignore emails on summer holidays
Q4 – Fewer campaigns sent out compared to the previous half of the year. Email volumes peak in November. Sending times are of essence.
Key findings included region specifics and details about the best send times for B2B and B2C businesses:
APAC: Highest open rates but lowest CTR
EMEA: Low open rate but highest CTR
The Americas: Average open rates and CTR, but the lowest unsubscription rate (indicating more brand loyalty vs APAC and EMEA)
APAC send the most mails (47.1% of total email volume) and also has the highest bounce rate
“Fashion/ Beauty” has the highest volume with 796 campaigns sent, which represents 554 more campaigns than the median. 
“Insurance” has the lowest volume with only 70 campaigns sent, which is 172 less than the median.
Best days for B2B mails were Mondays and Tuesdays, early mornings
Best days for B2C mails were afternoons during the week, and weekends
Top seven industries in terms of CTR
Media/Publishing (9.34%)
Insurance (8.58%)
Household/Garden (7.81%)
Electronics/Hardware (7.68%)
Association (Club/Religions) (7.38%)
Healthcare/Fitness/Food (7.17%)
Fashion/Beauty (7.06%)
Top seven industries in terms of open rate
Marketing/Advertising (38.10%)
Association (Club/Religions) (36.75%)
Insurance (36.25%)
Electronics/Hardware (31.35%)
Gambling/Lottery (30.70%)
Event/Entertainment (27.70%)
Agency/Consulting (26.25%)
Top priorities for email marketing 2021
GDPR compliant registration form
Transparency
Sender id variations ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected])
Personalization of subject lines, CTAs, linguistic style, and content
Direct speech and strong verbs
Aligning the link description and target
Link the full information for further reading
Automate the exclusion list to save time
Content marketing: Performance overview 2020 and 2021 strategy
Recently, SEMrush launched their ‘State of Content Marketing 2020 Global Report’ which analyzed 600 000+ tweets, 1,200,000+ blog posts, and surveyed 1,500+ marketers across the globe. Here are some key findings:
Almost 84% of survey respondents have a content strategy
Lead generation, website traffic, and improving brand reputation are top three priorities using content marketing
56% of organizations spent between $10,000 to $25,000 on content marketing
Just 11% evaluate their content strategy as “excellent” 
Website analytics tools and SEO tools were the top two used technologies for content marketing
69% of businesses created content for “Top of the funnel” in 2020
Strategy development is one of the top three skills required for a content marketer
SEO is the top discussed topic (18.32%)
#DigitalMarketing is the most popularly used hashtag (71%)
#SEO is the second most popular hashtag (62%)
7000+ word articles got almost 3X more page views and 43% more shares vs 900–1200 word articles
Clear structures (H2+H3+H4) help improve content performance
One list per 500 words of plain text got 70% more traffic than posts without lists
What were the most effective ways to use content marketing in 2020?
These were the top five most-used tactics by digital marketing teams:
SEO
Repurposing content
How to guides/Educational content
Optimizing customer journey
Video/Visual content

Top topics related to content marketing
The top three topics were – Strategy, SEO, and social media. While Tools, trends, AI, and content ideas were the lesser talked about topics.

Tweets that win
Time is the name of the game for Twitter. What kinds of Tweets won the sweet spot on Twitter users’ timelines and devices?

Top Google searches regarding content marketing
Even though Google being down recently made the rounds on social media but we can understand why – Google handles nearly 5.6 billion searches per day! Coming back to content marketing and search queries, these were the top three Google search queries SEMrush recorded:
Content marketing strategy
Content marketing agency
Content marketing examples
What kind of content performs best?
In terms of unique pageviews, articles ranging between 3000 to 7000+ words work well. However, articles that saw the highest shareability ranged between two categories – 1501 to 2000 words, and 5001 to 7000+ words.
If you’re looking at winning backlinks, articles within the range of 1201–1500 words championed these criteria.
Headlines that performed the best in terms of unique pageviews, shares, and backlinks were in these formats:
Lists
Guides
Questions
How-to
Headings (H1 tags) that were the best performing ranged between 10-13 words, followed by headings with 14 words.
Content with 6-7 images performed best in winning unique pageviews and shares.
For brands wanting to win with video content in their articles, adding 1-3 videos fell into the healthy threshold for winning backlinks, unique pageviews, and shares.
ClickZ readers’ choice for the week
2020 has been cold and marketers have been hungry for insights all year long. This week, our readers have been roasting their marketing marshmallows on the flame of forecasts for 2021 in terms of retail and digital marketing, with a sprinkle of some delightful thoughts from our interview with marketing leaders – eBay, IBM Watson, FILA, and Salesforce. Bon appetite!
The digital marketing forecast for 2021
Top marketers highlight 5 common themes about the impact of 2020 on business
Five retail and marketing trends for 2021

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Key Insights: Market leaders on 2021, AI in advertising, and ecommerce highlights

30-second summary:
63% of marketing leaders said COVID-19 has negatively impacted their marketing team’s productivity.
Community building, personalization, and effective marketing technology remain essentials for marketing success.
Senior marketers’ investment priorities for 2021.
The role of visual content and AI in marketing and advertising success will be key.
Top six challenges for the current advertising ecosystem and marketers.
Ecommerce trends for 2021 and beyond.
Dive in to know what are industry leaders like BigCommerce, Amazon, and other market leaders are excited about!

As we quickly approach the epic finale of our 2020 saga, senior marketers and basically everyone is looking ahead to 2021 with a 20/20 vision. The pandemic has dramatically shifted the needle for market leaders and has forced them to re-evaluate a lot of their strategies, market functions, and how their marketing technology stack is used. This week, we’re giving you a panoramic view at senior marketers’ strategy, investment priorities, AI’s role in the grand scheme of events, and what experts from Amazon, FILA, Shopify, eBay, Capgemini, BigCommerce, and Burrow forecast about ecommerce 2021 and beyond.
Market leaders’ strategic focus for 2021
Canva and Hubspot recently released their ‘Executive Marketing Leadership Survey’, these were some key findings that highlight senior marketers’ strategic focus for 2021 in terms of technology, marketing strategy, content, team productivity, and more.
63% of marketing leaders said COVID-19 has negatively impacted their marketing team’s productivity
43% observed increased team workload
44% of the leaders also identified their team’s creative processes were more difficult in 2020 (which is also an aligned observation that our advisory board recently shared in the quarterly meet)
Zach Kitschke, Head of Marketing at Canva said,

“Marketing teams are the masters of pivoting to maintain relevance for their brands in a dynamic and crowded market. With COVID-19 and the political climate throwing consistency out the window, marketers have had to adjust quickly and plan ahead for all types of scenarios.”

Market leaders’ investment priorities for 2021
In addition to these, the Canva and Hubspot report also showed that C-suite found a brighter side to 2020 as they observed increased website traffic and increased online activity. 

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Our expert panel at our recent Ecommerce Transformation event shared that the pandemic has made community building and nurturing a top priority for marketing success. That being said, these stand as their investment priorities for 2021:
Growth marketing for higher lead generation and customer engagement
Content marketing to successfully personalize and target content to target audiences (Our Pulse Survey too has seen this remain a top demand technology almost throughout 2020)
Design to create high quality, aesthetic, and valuable visual content as it increasingly becomes an essential

Prioritized channels for digital marketing in 2021:
Email marketing
Facebook
Instagram
Blogs
YouTube
Quick facts on visual content
Articles with images or other visual elements get 90% more total views
Tweets with images get 150% retweets 
Facebook posts with images get 2X engagement
Articles featuring an image every 75 to 100 words got 2X shares
Press releases with images get 45% more views
AI in advertising and marketers’ top challenges in 2020
IBM Watson Advertising in their ‘AI Advertising Almanac’ identified that top challenges for the current advertising ecosystem are: 
Lack of transparency
Ineffectiveness
Poor trust
As per their latest infographic, these remain the top challenges for marketers in 2020:
Marketers can’t track over 85% of their media spend
Publishers are settling for a fraction of the value of their inventory.
Consumers get the short end of the stick with over-targeting, low content
IBM Watson Advertising also points at the need for AI to be accurately and ethically applied to understand consumer intent and overcome one of marketers’ biggest nightmares in 2020 – the redundancy of third-party cookies.
ClickZ Ecommerce Transformation event highlights
On Dec 10, we hosted experts from Amazon, FILA, Shopify, eBay, Capgemini, BigCommerce, and Burrow for our Ecommerce Transformation Virtual Event where they dove deep into:
The marketing technology industry
Current state of the ecommerce industry
Highlights of some great innovations in light of the pandemic
Strategies that are transforming ecommerce
Predictions for the oncoming ecommerce boom and what will separate the winners from the rest
Golden nuggets on Ecommerce and strategy
Personalization remains table stakes for ecommerce and marketing success in 2020 and beyond. Here are some rapid Q&A highlights from the event.

Q. What aspect of #ecommerce are you excited about?
1. #Omnichannel – @MeghanStabler from @BigCommerce
2. Humanization – Alex Kubo from @HiBurrow
3. #AI tools – Mike Miller from @Amazon#EcommerceTransformation #Insights #OnlineShopping #COVID19 #Marketing #Future #Martech
— ClickZ (@ClickZ) December 10, 2020

#EcommerceTransformation Panel 2 #insights – Top 6 #ecommerce #trends:1. Brands selling directly to #consumers2. Manager experiments3. #Customer centricity – Knowing customer challenges, environment, and #CX4. #Community building5. Hyper #personalization6. #SocialListening
— ClickZ (@ClickZ) December 10, 2020

ClickZ readers’ choice for the week
This past week, our readers have found value from our ClickZ advisory board’s foresight and industry observations, automation tools for personalization, tips to improve user experience (UX) for ecommerce as CX continues to remain in the spotlight.
Nine important marketing takeaways from 2020
Why aren’t marketers using automation tools to personalize websites?
Seven UX ideas to improve your ecommerce sales

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Key Insights: The two missing pieces of your holiday season digital strategy that influence consumer buying decisions

30-second summary:
2020 has given consumers and brands the most digital-first holiday shopping season.
Consumers are making buying decisions in the “messy middle” stages – namely, exploration and evaluation.
“Cheapest” vs “best”, what’s winning consumers’ search worldwide?
If you’re still looking for ways to finetune your holiday season digital strategy, we’re sharing insights about just the missing pieces.

This week we’re going for a strategy-heavy look at the crucial phases that influence your consumers’ buying decisions and how you can slam dunk sales by bumping up your digital marketing strategy to resonate through sales.
2020 consumers and brands have seen the most digital-first holiday shopping season and consumers are making buying decisions in the “messy middle” stages – namely, exploration and evaluation. 
According to Google’s behavioral science analysis, despite the global economic pressure, people aren’t interested in the “cheapest” products/services. The graph below pits the “cheapest” vs “best” search trend worldwide to establish this observation. This once again emphasizes consumer needs for quality products, services, and communications. Brands, are you listening?

‘Authority bias’ (being swayed by an expert or trusted sources) is one of the top cognitive biases that influence purchase decision-making. If you’re still looking for ways to finetune your holiday season digital strategy, we’re sharing insights about just the missing piece – influencer marketing.

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Influencer marketing: The $15 billion global industry
Trust has been a significant factor that influences consumers shopping online in 2020 which has added more fuel to the influencer marketing industry which is poised to be a $15 billion global industry by 2022.
Three crucial facts on influencer marketing 2020
Gartner’s latest report looked into the scope of influencer marketing and the waves it has made in 2020. Here are three key facts:
79% of consumers followed influencer content 
43% of these consumers want to see more influencer content in at least one product category
Nearly two-thirds of CMOs claimed to increase their marketing budgets in 2020
While the report also identified that 50% of marketers struggled to spot fake followers and content, it also highlighted these recommendations:
Adopting initial low-risk strategies of targeting micro-influencers providing lower costs and high reward prospective through their sphere of influence
Determining stages where influencer marketing can add value in the purchase cycle 
The website experience and online shopping
Nearly 70% of consumers felt that their purchase was most influenced by the brand’s website. This stat in itself has made brands focus more on their digital strategies to:
Minimize fiction in the online shopping experience
Provide improve product knowledge to consumers
Increasing CTR by identifying and fixing silos in the CX

Some key findings from Gartner were:
Of the 91% of retailers that use sort/filter options on their website, only 37% of B2B websites and 13% of banking sites capitalized on them
84% of retail websites offer autosuggest search, however, just 41% of B2B sites use this feature
Essential elements to have in a website were – social media, store locators, and customer service tools
Top action-points that websites need to drive conversions:
Optimizing the search algorithm for improved product discovery
Minimizing the number of clicks needed to land on a product conversion page
Keeping loyalty program pages and high-traffic pages in a one-click reach
ClickZ readers’ choice for the week
This week, our readers have been busy amping up their strategies with our weekly insights, COVID-19 related digital behaviors in 2021, and advanced digital marketing.
Key Insights: Exclusive market intelligence and ecommerce highlights
COVID-related digital behaviors that won’t be going away in 2021
Global Topology International Digital Marketing

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Key Insights: The two missing pieces of your holiday season digital strategy that influence consumer buying decisions

Key Insights: The two missing pieces of your holiday season digital strategy that influence consumer buying decisions

30-second summary: 2020 has given consumers and brands the most digital-first holiday shopping season. Consumers are making buying decisions in the “messy middle” stages – namely, exploration and evaluation. “Cheapest” vs “best”, what’s winning consumers’ search worldwide? If you’re still looking for ways to finetune your holiday season digital strategy, we’re sharing insights about just…