Digiday+ Research: Half of publishers upped their marketing spend in the last year, but slower spending is ahead
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At a time when the phrase “ad slowdown” is commonly used (even if that slowdown might be abating), it might be surprising to hear that many publishers actually increased their marketing spending in the last year.
This is according to a Digiday+ Research survey of 35 publisher professionals that found that about half of publishers increased marketing spend in the last year, but that increase isn’t likely to follow publishers into the next year.
Digiday’s survey found that publishers did increase their marketing spend, if only slightly. Forty-eight percent of publisher pros said marketing spending increased for their companies in the last 12 months, with 42% saying it increased somewhat and just 6% saying it increased significantly.
Meanwhile, slightly more than a quarter (27%) said their companies’ marketing spend decreased somewhat in the last year, and 21% said it stayed the same. Only 3% said marketing spend decreased significantly at their companies in the last year.
While a lot of publishers did increase their marketing spending in the last year, Digiday’s survey found that most of that spend went toward online marketing, rather than offline ones. Ninety-one percent of publisher pros said their companies invested at least a small amount in online marketing in the last 12 months, compared with a much lower 57% who said their companies invested at least a small amount in offline marketing during the same period.
But even for that 91% who invested in online marketing, publishers kept their marketing investments small in the last year. The largest percentage of publishers who invested in both online and offline marketing in the last 12 months said they invested just a small amount: 43% of publisher pros told Digiday their companies invested a small amount in online marketing in the last year, and 29% said their companies invested a small amount in offline marketing.
Meanwhile, 29% of publisher pros said their companies invested a large amount in online marketing, and just 9% said they invested a large amount in offline marketing.
While Digiday’s survey found that publishers spent big on online marketing in the last year, it also found that publishers are likely to slow that way down in the coming year. When asked what they expect to increase the most in the next 12 months, only 17% of publisher pros said they expect marketing spending to increase. (Compared with the 80% who said they expect overall revenue to increase in the next 12 months, as we reported last week, that 17% is a very small percentage.)
But even so, publishers’ focus will very clearly be online marketing in the coming year over offline marketing. Eighty-three percent of publisher pros told Digiday that they expect their companies to invest the most in online marketing in the next 12 months, compared with just 23% who said they expect their companies to invest the most in offline marketing.
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