E-Commerce Growing Fast Among Major Marketers, and Showing Returns -- New ANA Study

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New ANA Study Shows Digital Transactions Driving Incremental Sales

NEW YORK (January 31, 2017) — According to a new study by the ANA (Association of National Advertisers), within the next two years, more than 80 percent of ANA marketer members will be conducting business via e-commerce.

The ANA Survey Report: E-Commerce Insights also revealed that 73 percent of marketers surveyed believe e-commerce drives revenue for their companies, and of those, 43 percent said such initiatives account for up to 10 percent of all sales.

The study showed that currently:

  • 74 percent of respondents currently engage in some form of e-commerce.
  • 66 percent reported e-commerce growth in the past year.
  • 59 percent have dedicated e-commerce departments.
  • Of those companies not currently engaged in e-commerce, 23 percent plan on launching such an initiative in the next two years.

“These results are not surprising, as e-commerce platforms connected to mobile devices have become increasingly prolific,” said Bob Liodice, ANA CEO. “There is every reason to believe that these trends will accelerate, which will dramatically transform how consumers interact with marketers. These trends will pressure marketers to adapt quickly and provide consumers with outstanding user experiences.”


  • Most e-commerce companies engage in social media marketing, have an online store hosted on the company’s website, leverage mobile payment platforms, and employ third-party online retailers like Amazon or Walmart.
  • 28 percent of respondents have an e-commerce department that reports to digital marketing, while 21 percent of such units function as standalone divisions. The remaining departments are part of integrated marketing (17 percent), sales (12 percent), information technology (8 percent), brand management (7 percent), shopper marketing (4 percent), and media (1 percent).
  • Most e-commerce departments report to the CMO (47 percent), followed by the head of sales (15 percent), the CEO (10 percent), and the chief technology officer (8 percent).
  • 56 percent of respondents said they use agencies to support their e-commerce strategies. More than half use multiple agencies to help them design ads, create strategy, and assist with mobile and social commerce.


Measurement continues to be an issue, particularly with assessing the bottom-line impact of total e-commerce efforts. Issues cited include poor intra-company communications and a lack of tracking infrastructure.

The study also said that even though augmented reality and virtual reality are becoming mainstream (particularly for gaming), their e-commerce potential remains largely untapped. Additionally, programmatic buying and the promise of addressable TV have the capacity to drive even more e-commerce growth. However, ROI tracking across devices continues to present challenges.


In total, 215 client-side marketers participated in the survey, a cross-sampling of ANA membership. Respondents to the survey, conducted in July and August 2016, have a median of 20 years of experience in marketing, spanning sectors, company size, and marketing spend. Approximately 40 percent of respondents focus their marketing on B-to-C efforts, 18 percent on B-to-B marketing, and 42 percent on both B-to-B and B-to-C. Some of the ANA member companies that participated include AB InBev, AT&T, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cuisinart, General Electric, MGM Resorts International, Mondelēz, and State Farm.

For purposes of the survey, e-commerce (also referred to as electronic commerce, EC, e-business, or e-tail) refers to a wide variety of internet-based business models. An e-commerce strategy was defined as one that incorporates various elements of the marketing mix to drive users to a website for the purpose of purchasing a product or service. E-commerce includes business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-consumer, and consumer-to-business sales via an online company store as well as through third-party retailers.

The full study can be downloaded below.

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