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Only half of companies will increase marketing spend, ROI measurement remains a challenge – global report


Only half of companies will increase marketing spend, ROI measurement remains a challenge – global report


52% of companies worldwide will increase marketing spend this year, an 11% drop from last year’s high.

52% of companies globally will increase overall marketing spend this year, compared to 63% last year, according to a report titled ‘Marketing Budgets 2016’ by Econsultancy, commissioned by Oracle Marketing Cloud.

73% of companies worldwide plan to increase digital marketing spend. For the majority of respondents, digital still represents less than half their overall marketing budget, with the most common band being 1-10% of marketing budget going to digital.

Of that amount, spend across digital marketing tactics is spread out quite broadly, with paid search taking the largest slice, at 14% of digital marketing spend, followed by:

  • content marketing: 12%,
  • lead generation: 8%,
  • display advertising (for acquisition): 7%,
  • email marketing (for acquisition): 7%,
  • email marketing (for engagement/retention): 5%,
  • data management: 4%,
  • social media investment (for acquisition): 4%,
  • SEO: 4%,
  • social media investment (for engagement/retention): 4%.


Measuring ROI from digital marketing spend proves to be a challenge in many organisations, and some believe this is one reason for budget restrictions on digital spend. Apart from paid search, and email marketing, for which about half of respondents rate their ability to measure ROI as ‘good’, all other digital channels fare poorly.

Affiliate marketing (36% good), lead generation (32%), and marketing automation (26%) are the only others where more than a quarter of participants stated good measurement. All others, including social media acquisition (19%), mobile marketing for acquisition (18%) and video advertising (11%) were reported to have poor measurement ability.

77% of respondents plan to increase content marketing budget this year, followed by lead generation (72%), email marketing for engagement and retention (66%) and email marketing for acquisition (63%).

Disciplines which might help to measure ROI were not such a high priority, with only 60% planning to increase budget spend on data management, and marketing analytics – including testing – at 57%.

“Marketers are finding themselves under more pressure to demonstrate ROI and so are favouring digital solutions,” says Andrea Ward, vice president of marketing, Oracle Marketing Cloud.

The report surveyed 500 digital marketers and ecommerce professionals, in various countries and business sectors in January and February this year.



Ben Ice

Ben Ice was MarketingMag editor from August 2017 - February 2020

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