How to sweat your data to overcome marketing budget cuts

While advertising budgets shrink, marketers continue to under utilise their data. What are the steps and tools you need to get the most out of your analytics?

Paula Gómez, Data & AdTech Director, Making Science, looks at why under utilising the data at your disposal could mean missed opportunities for delivering ROI.

The UK’s post-pandemic optimism seems to be running out of steam. With consumers facing a rapidly rising cost of living, it’s no wonder  their confidence is the lowest it's been since records began. 

This uncertainty extends beyond the consumer and is impacting business decisions, with marketing budgets beginning to waver. The growth rate of budgets for marketers throughout Europe fell for the second consecutive month in June 2022 to 53.3, from 57.4 in May.

With increasing pressure on advertisers to deliver effective ROI, especially in the face of cookieless targeting, leveraging every tool to optimise advertising campaigns and deliver on wider business objectives, such as conversion rate, will be high on the agenda for most marketers. 

However, despite the urgency to address marketing efficiency, research conducted by Making Science revealed that two thirds of UK marketers are currently under utilising the data at their disposal by activating predominantly via high level general analysis rather than employing more advanced solutions.


By only scratching the surface of their data, businesses are losing out on powerful insights, resulting in inefficiency and unmet objectives, all of which will impact a brand’s bottom line. So how can companies and advertisers better unlock the potential of their data?

A solid data foundation

Modern marketing is powered by data. From targeting to personalisation, identifying new audiences or rewarding loyal ones, without the wealth of data points that brands accumulate, many of the most impactful marketing techniques would be unachievable. Ever tightening privacy restrictions and the loss of third-party data will decrease the amount of information available, but not lessen its importance to advertisers – meaning more will need to be drawn from the data held.

This is not lost on the majority of marketers with nine out of 10 taking action to measure their data and only 3% failing to gather data at all.

Marketers are also taking heed of shifting consumer trends, giving them the best chance of delivering ROI on their data collection investments. Despite a dip in digital marketing spend, the channel’s enduring popularity is reflected in current data collection practices, with 88% of marketers gathering their data from online sources, ranging from analytics, campaigns and website activity. This focus is unsurprising considering that in 2020 the pandemic grew UK online retailing by 46.5%, and though this rate of acceleration has not continued, it is still due to grow by a further 9% in this year.  

Untapped riches

Clearly brands and marketers are taking pains to ensure they have data stores available and that the information collected is relevant. 

However, most fail to access the full range of granular insights their data has to offer, with two thirds of marketers only activating  a high level via general analysis. This inefficiency is resulting in only the minority being able to achieve key business objectives such as increasing ROI (42%) or CRO (38%). 

Despite the care taken to collect data, many marketers are failing to take a holistic view, with nearly half (47%) revealing that data is analysed in silos, and a further 10% not even measuring the data they collect. 

This lack of integration will hinder marketers in their challenge to overcome reductions in marketing spend and promotes wastage following the initial efforts to collect and sort data.

Starting a data journey 

Marketers should assess their full data journey to  develop data strategies that support marketing objectives for the most efficient ROI.

The first step is examining data capture and quality processes, ensuring only high quality data is kept and that it is being correctly received from platforms or CRMs. Data should then be fully integrated, brought out of its separate silos and into one holistic system. 

In the case of online and offline data, full visibility will only be gained when both data streams can be easily compared.

Ultimately, data is then used for one of two complementary outcomes: experience optimisation or media mix optimisation. Data utilised for experience optimisation can help marketers understand and predict which users will bring the highest value. When optimising for media mix, advanced measurement helps to identify the channels or campaigns that are bringing the highest ROI.

Going the distance

General analysis tools do not examine a data set as a whole, instead they use a sample and extrapolate the information to represent itt. But advanced analysis solutions offer marketers more in depth and granular insights due to the ability to better process and ingest large quantities of data results from every point in the set.

AI technology then gives advanced analysis tools more power, firstly by extending the information generated using prediction based modelling to expand audience insights beyond the existing data’s boundaries. AI also enables advanced campaign measurement, allowing marketers to understand what elements do and don’t work within a particular campaign 

These advanced analysis tools can provide marketers with more detailed guidance to inform their decisions and to tailor activity towards reaching their business objectives. For example, those struggling to increase their conversion rate optimisation could activate their data using machine learning capabilities of a tool such as BigQuery to analyse customer experience data and enhance their product based on the informative results produced.

Those prepared to go the full distance on their data journey, considering each step and moving past general analysis, will better unlock the insights needed to overcome the rising challenges faced by marketers to deliver ROI on their spend. 

Finding additional value in data means marketers can effectively tailor their strategies to meet business goals, and despite potential reductions in budgets, produce successful campaigns to keep the marketing wheel turning through challenging economic times.