Marketers Shifting Ad Spend Mix to Digital Media

June 14, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Agency Business | Digital | Financial Services | Media & Entertainment | Social Media | Uncategorized

rswus-spending-shift-traditional-digital-ads-june2012.pngAlmost 3 in 10 marketers say they have shifted at least half of their marketing spending from traditional to digital advertising over the past 3 years, according to June 2012 survey results from RSW/US. The data also shows that 2 in 3 have moved at least 30% of their budgets from traditional to digital, while just 4% have not changed their spending mix. These findings align closely with March 2012 results from a DataXu survey, which found about one-third of CMOs saying that more than half of their budgets have shifted from traditional to digital marketing in the past year, with an additional 23% reporting a shift of between 26% and 50% to digital.

44% Allocate At Least Half of Budgets to Social & Digital

As a result of this shift in spending, 44% of marketers report that they are now spending at least half of their budgets on social and digital media. This represents a 42% increase from 31% spending that amount on digital and social media in 2009. This year, just 5% remain digital and social holdouts, allocating none of their marketing budgets to these channels.

In response, agencies report dramatically heightened activities in these spaces. 52% say that at least half of the work they perform for their clients is in social and digital media, an almost 80% increase from 29% in 2009.

Social Media Becomes Easier to Measure

Data from RSW/US’ “2009-2012 Changes in Digital/Social Media” indicates that as marketers adopt social media in greater degrees, they are finding it easier to measure than traditional media. 30% said that social media is a lot easier to measure than traditional media (rating it at least an 8 on a 10-point scale), almost 4 times the proportion responding that way 3 years ago (8%). Agencies are in agreement, with 28% saying social is a lot easier to measure than traditional. Indeed, when asked which characteristic of digital marketing prompted their shift, the most common reason cited by respondents to the DataXu survey (see link above) was increased measurability and accountability (20%).

The RSW/US report notes that the vast majority of respondents are most likely still relying on social media metrics such as likes, and not more meaningful ones such as business impact. Indeed, research from Social Media Examiner and Awareness finds marketers to be primarily focusing on social media benefits and metrics in terms of exposure and presence.

Other Findings:

  • Marketers responding to the RSW/US survey appear quite confident in their social and digital media savvy. 57% either somewhat (44%) or strongly (13%) agree that they are on the cutting edge of understanding, working with, and maximizing their presence in the social and digital media spaces. This is up from 44% in 2009. However, this contrasts somewhat with May 2012 survey results from PulsePoint, which found most marketers lacking confidence in their ability to execute complex digital marketing campaigns.
  • The RSW/US agency respondents appear slightly more confident in their social and digital media savvy, with 64% saying their are on the cutting edge, although this is relatively unchanged from 2009. Of note, agency respondents to the PulsePoint survey (see link above) also expressed greater confidence than marketers in their digital marketing savvy.

About the Data: The RSW/US survey was completed by 112 senior level marketers and 118 agency principals from agencies of different types/sizes during May 2012.

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