Digiday+ Research: Brands’ confidence in marketing channels doesn’t line up with ad spend

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This research is based on unique data collected from our proprietary audience of publisher, agency, brand and tech insiders. It’s available to Digiday+ members. More from the series →

When brands are planning out their marketing spend, it only makes sense that they spend across channels proportionally to how confident they are that those channels will drive marketing success. Right?

But brands’ confidence across marketing channels doesn’t quite line up with the way they allocate their marketing budgets, according to Digiday+ Research, which surveyed brand professionals this summer for its State of the State report.

When it comes to marketing spend, Google dominates compared to competing channels. Nearly 60% of the 29 brand respondents to Digiday’s survey said they spend a large portion of their marketing budgets on Google. Notably, TV came in the No. 2 spot among respondents — ahead of both Facebook and Instagram. Almost a third of brands said TV gets a large portion of their marketing budgets, while Facebook and Instagram came in at closer to a quarter of respondents: 28% and 21%, respectively. Online display ads weren’t far behind at 18%.

Google also dominates among channels when it comes to marketing success: 69% of brand respondents said they are confident that the channel drives marketing success, Digiday’s survey found. Social channels also account for a large portion of confidence among brand pros, according to the survey. More than half (52%) of brand respondents said they are confident that Facebook drives marketing success, 42% said the same of Instagram and 41% said the same about YouTube. Brands’ confidence is high in online display ads, as well, with 45% of respondents saying they are confident in the channel.

Comparing the results of marketing spend versus marketing confidence is where things really get interesting: While Google comes out as the leader in both categories, that’s where the similarities end. TV came in second among brand pros regarding how much of their marketing budget is allocated to the channel, but in terms of confidence in marketing success, TV dropped to sixth place. And while brand pros said they don’t necessarily spend a large portion of their marketing budgets on social channels, social media platforms accounted for three of the top five channels when it comes to marketing success.

Overall, the percentage of brands that said they’re confident that each channel drives marketing success far outstrips the percentage of brands that said they spend a large portion of their marketing budget on each channel. Brand pros’ stance on online display ads is worth mentioning, with the channel ending up in the top five for each category: 18% of brand respondents said a large portion of their marketing budget goes toward the channel, putting it in fifth place, and 45% of brands said they’re confident that online display ads drive marketing success, putting it in third place.


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