Surveyed global digital advertisers predict to invest 60% or more of their ad budgets digitally in 2012, 25% plan to significantly increase digital owned, earned media spend: eMarketer

THETFORD CENTER, Vermont , April 3, 2012 (press release) –
More evidence of confidence in digital—but not in digital advertising. As eMarketer reports, a February report from the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA) that surveyed digital advertisers worldwide found they are investing a greater portion of their total marketing budgets online in 2012. Fully one third expects to invest 60% or more of their ad budgets digitally.

But while paid digital and traditional media are still important investments, 25% of respondents planned to significantly increase their digital owned and earned media spend, compared to just 8% who planned to do the same for paid digital media and 4% for traditional media.

One factor in the shift is the explosion of social media and its significance in the marketing mix for both traditional and digital media. “For a lot of advertisers, social is actually the bridge of their understanding between the traditional world and the digital space,” Michael McVeigh, senior vice president of strategic services at Zeta Interactive, told eMarketer. “Social is where brands start to see how many people they have reached throughout their network, much like those big, overarching air powers of TV and radio.”

The social media significance goes beyond shifting budgets, and is affecting organizational structures. Almost 73% of client-side marketers surveyed are transforming the structure of their marketing departments. Of those, 45.8% have created cross-departmental groups to leverage social media monitoring and other socially obtained insights throughout the company. In addition, roughly a third is specifically integrating “social listening” with its traditional research departments.

Incorporating earned and owned media (like social media) into the marketing mix can also reduce overall advertising costs. A February 2012 study from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) found that 84% of US advertisers said they currently face challenges in identifying cost savings and reductions for their 2012 marketing efforts. This number was up from 77% last year.

ANA found as well that B2B and B2C organizations have trimmed costs through savings on travel and departmental expenses as well as agency costs, and apparently view advertising as a similar expense. Fifty three percent of B2B marketers planned to reduce campaign ad budgets, and 44% of B2C marketers plan to do the same. That’s less than their B2B counterparts, but a greater number of B2C marketers (45%) looked to alter the marketing channel mix to reduce costs.

B2B marketers reported being less likely to reallocate their marketing mix: just 31% planned to do so in order to reduce marketing expenses.

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