Study: US market lags in digital confidence

Confidence levels in delivering and discussing digital activities are lower in the US than other markets, according to a global study from The Knowledge Engineers.

NEW YORK: Confidence levels in delivering and discussing digital activities are lower in the US than other markets, according to a global study from The Knowledge Engineers.

The Digital Knowledge Survey, conducted by the digital training company between December 2013 and March 2014, included 8,000 respondents across the US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Media and marcomms professionals in a number of roles answered the survey, 70% of which work at agencies, including PR.

According to the survey, 31% of US respondents are "not very confident" in their ability to deliver digital activity, compared to 25% in the UK and 15% in APAC.

About 21% of US participants said they are completely confident, while 35% said so in the UK and 36% in APAC.

The survey also shows that confidence levels when it comes to discussing digital with clients are the lowest in the US. Nearly 30% of US respondents stated they are not very confident, compared to 25% in the UK and 12% in APAC.

In the US, 21% of respondents said they are completely confident discussing digital with clients, unlike 37% in the UK and 45% in APAC.

Nick New, MD of North America for The Knowledge Engineers, explained that the large scale of the US market means there are "pockets of digital excellence," which are often world-leading, but overall digital activities sit in silos at agencies and brands.

"There are still non-digital people, who effectively wash their hands of it because they do not think digital is part of their job," he said. "The basics of the digital process need to be understood across a broad range of roles, especially account management, so they can talk to their clients with confidence."

New added that digital should "not be seen as rocket science and should be the new normal."

Levels of confidence vary across digital skill-sets, according to the study. On average, US respondents are most confident in digital creative (49%), community management (41%), and social media marketing (32%).

Even though search and display has existed longer than social media, average confidence levels in those channels were ranked among the lowest by US respondents, at 16% and 20%, respectively.

Confidence in mobile marketing and digital production skills were also among the lowest in the US, both at 19%.

Last October, PRWeek parent company Haymarket Media Group became strategic partners with The Knowledge Engineers by taking a minority stake in the business.

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