New survey: 41% of Businesses Spend at Least $500,000 on Digital Marketing Annually


Ninety-Nine Percent of Businesses Will Increase Digital Marketing Spending by Mid-2019

Almost every business plans to invest more time and money in digital marketing. Among businesses that use digital marketing, nearly all (99%) plan to increase their investment in at least one channel in the next year.

It is much easier to reach customers online than through traditional marketing channels.

Businesses Will Spend More on Social Media and Websites

Most businesses plan to invest more in multiple digital marketing channels, but research shows that social media and websites are their top priority.

Within the next year, more than half of businesses and spend more time and money on social media marketing (64%) and websites (55%).

Businesses want to invest more in social media marketing and a website because it is easy to measure these channels’ results and doesn’t require much effort.

“They’re the strategies that business owners are most comfortable with,” said Flynn Zaiger, CEO of Online Optimism, a digital marketing agency in New Orleans. “If you’re trying to make a decision that will at least guarantee some sort of results, chucking money at social media or your web designer will make something happen.”

Businesses Will Invest Less in Display and Paid Search Advertisements

Nearly three-quarters of businesses (73%) plan to lower their investment in at least one digital marketing channel within the next year.

Businesses value these online advertising mediums less than other digital marketing channels because they don’t produce obvious results. Additionally, online ads are costly to implement and it is difficult to track the results.

“A lot of businesses may not be paying as much attention to display or paid search advertisements because they may not know how to track the results,” said Jeremy Greenberg, founder of web design and digital marketing agency 97 Switch. “Businesses may think the prices are too high based on their margins to convert sales.”

“[Display and paid search advertisements] have an abundance of importance, but you can’t control the whole experience, and that’s what makes it hard for some companies,” Greenberg said.

How Businesses Invest in Digital Marketing Depends on Customer Needs

Digital marketing is an important aspect of a business’s overall marketing strategy. However, a digital marketing budget varies by business and customer needs.



“It’s all over the map as far as industry goes,” said Jon Borg-Breen, co-founder and head of sales at B2B lead generation agency Symbiont Group. “To figure it out, you need to understand who you’re trying to sell to and define those personas.”

“Get a sense of exactly how people consume information and how they make purchasing decisions,” Borg-Breen said. “If digital is really big for these customers, then digital marketing should be a massive amount of your budget. If you’re in an old-school industry that doesn’t really do a lot of digital stuff, digital marketing may not make as much sense.”

To figure out the appropriate percentage of your budget to allocate to digital marketing, you must look to your customers.

Nearly Half of Businesses Spend at Least $500,000 on Digital Marketing Annually

According to experts, business spending on digital marketing increases every year, according to experts.

81% spend at least $50,000 on digital marketing each year, and 41% spend at least $500,000.

Zaiger predicts that spending on digital marketing will continue to increase.

Businesses Rely on Multiple Resources for Digital Marketing

Businesses use a combination of resources for digital marketing, but research shows that most use in-house staff (69%) and software (59%).

Many businesses also use outside resources like digital marketing agencies (50%) or a freelancer/consultant (32%).

Using outside resources can yield valuable results.

“Trying to handle digital marketing by yourself is often a frustrating and difficult process,” Greenberg said. “There’s various tools and people that will help you make sure you’re actually getting results for every penny spent.”

Using in-house staff for channels you have expertise in but outsourcing the channels you are more unfamiliar with can create a winning digital marketing strategy.

One-Third of Businesses Plan to Outsource Digital Marketing

Among businesses that rely solely on in-house staff and software for digital marketing, nearly one-third (32%) plan to outsource their digital marketing within the next year. Outsourcing digital marketing can help a business receive essential external perspective, experts say.

“[Companies] should be getting an outside perspective because sometimes extra minds can be a really big bolt to someone’s system,” Zaiger said.

Overall, the survey indicates that businesses across all industries value digital marketing and will continue to spend more on it every year.

The Manifest’s 2018 Digital Marketing Survey included 501 digital marketers from U.S. companies with more than 100 employees.


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