Survey: Online Brand Advertising Overtakes Direct Response

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ADOTAS – In a recent survey, advertising executives said they expected to allocate nearly 60 percent of their online budgets to brand advertising in the coming year. If this comes to pass, spending on branding will surpass spending on direct response advertising for the first time. Vizu, an online advertising technology company that works to optimize brand lift for advertisers and publishers, sponsored the survey of over 450 execs (the survey was conducted by Digiday in November and December 2011), and in a press release, Vizu CEO Dan Beltramo called the predictions therein “clearly optimistic, but very encouraging nonetheless.”

According to the survey’s results, 64 percent of responding marketers said they plan to increase their online brand advertising budgets in 2012, and 22 percent said they’ll increase spending by more than 20 percent. At the same time, 56 percent of respondents said they plan to increase their online direct response advertising budgets in the coming year, and 15 percent said they’ll increase spending by more than 20  percent. Tellingly, 60 percent of marketers responding indicated that they are allocating dollars away from direct response to brand advertising initiatives.

Beltramo suggested the fact that brand advertisers’ online ads “can now be measured and optimized using classic offline brand metrics, such as awareness and purchase intent” led to, and may continue to lead to, the growth in this segment of the market. The results seemed to back him up in places where, for example, 53 percent indicating they’d spend more on brand advertising if allowed the “ability to use the same metrics to evaluate brand advertising effectiveness online as are used offline,” and 56 saying they desired the “ability to verify my brand advertising… increased awareness of my product.” More simply, 68 percent said they’d spend more on brand advertising if return of investment were clearer. “These issues are all indicative of a ‘metrics morass’ in the online medium,” Beltramo said in the statement, citing how 34 percent of respondents described themselves as “drowning in data.” And while 85 percent of brands surveyed considered establishing the primary marketing objective for a brand advertising campaign and the metric for gauging the objective’s performance prior to a campaign’s beginning “very important,” only 18 percent of agencies said they’re able to establish a single objective they could use to measure ROI before a campaign began.

The survey’s full results are available from Vizu’s website.

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