Australia outstrips APAC for digital marketing spend, activity

Australian marketers are more advanced digital marketers than their Asia Pacific counterparts, exhibiting higher levels of spend and a more extensive use of digital techniques.

According to new research released by the CMO Council in partnership with Adobe Systems Incorporated, 41% of Australian marketers invest 25% or more of their total marketing budgets on digital. This was well ahead of any other APAC nation.

The quantitative and qualitative study researched 295 senior marketers in in Australia, China, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and India across a range of industries.

It found Australian marketers also display the highest user of digital analytics and reporting, with 84.5% of the sample using digital methods, compared to 84% in Korea, 75% in Singapore, 63% in India, 61.5% in Hong Kong and 33% in China.

Customer preference was the most common reason given for investing in digital marketing among Australian marketers, followed by the promise of greater productivity, visibility and accountability of marketing campaigns.

Adobe’s senior director for marketing, Asia Pacific, Mark Phibbs, says, “Australia has realised the benefits of digital early compared with the rest of the region and has invested accordingly.”

Despite lower investment in some countries, optimism is high, Phibbs adds. “Optimism is high right across the region about the business benefits of digital marketing with 93% of marketers surveyed believing digital marketing could create competitive advantage for their company, while 52% felt digital marketing was crucial in helping create a customer-centric, responsive organisation.

“Many countries have also been optimistic about expected investment levels in 2013 and the research shows spending is likely to double in the year ahead.”

In Australia, the highest level of digital marketing funding is being directed towards website content development and performance optimisation at 83%, followed by search engine optimisation at 66% and email marketing at 54%.

Social media optimisation, including boosting community growth and engagement, ranked as the top priority for this financial year, a top concern for 50% of Australian marketers. Increasing and improving paid search and online display advertising was the next item on the priority list, a top concern for 43% of the sample.

Two in three Australian marketers engage multiple digital agencies for their initiatives, more than in any other country. Australian marketers do not feel that one agency can deliver across all digital channels, the report says, with 73% reporting only ‘moderate’ results from their agencies and a lack of ability to deliver equally across strategy, execution and measurement.