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The Advertiser-Agency Gap in Digital Spending Priorities

Clients and agencies also disagree about their success at measuring ROI

There’s no question that the vast majority of marketers are shifting more spending to digital, and a combination of tried-and-true tactics with newer online options will benefit from increasing budgets. But advertisers and their agencies are not yet on the same page when it comes to the details of many of those changes.

According to a report on 2011 marketing budgets from Econsultancy and SAS, agencies worldwide are more eager than their clients to increase spending on newer digital marketing tactics, while advertisers show a greater interest in upping budgets for the time-tested. For example, agencies were 13 percentage points more likely than advertisers to say their clients would be increasing mobile marketing spending. Advertisers were out in front of their agencies with reports of spending increases for email marketing, corporate websites, paid search and display ads.

US-based research from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found similar patterns. Marketers were more likely than agencies to say they always or often used online tactics like emails, paid search, SEO and display. Agencies, as in the Econsultancy data, placed a significantly greater emphasis on mobile; they were 7 percentage points more likely than marketers to be familiar with it, and more than twice as likely to use it frequently.

The Econsultancy study also found agencies and their clients disagreed about their ability to measure the return on investment from many digital channels. Advertisers were more optimistic than agencies about how well they could assess the success of their efforts with paid search, email, corporate websites, display and mobile.

Whether advertisers are overconfident or agencies too tough on their clients’ capabilities, the perceptual gap could be significant in determining which channels see more of clients’ dollars.

Keep your business ahead of the digital curve. Learn more about becoming an eMarketer Total Access client today.

Check out today’s other article, “Baby Boomers: Neglected by Marketers.”

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