B2Cs, B2Bs See Digital, Social Ad Spend Rising, as Traditional Stalls
Marketers from US business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) product and service companies reported in a survey from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business that, on average, their digital ad spending would continue rising this year, though growth will be slightly lower than last year for the B2C product and B2B service sectors. Marketers from B2C product companies expected digital ad spending to rise 11.1% this year, compared to 14.6% last year. The growth rate for additional spending by the B2B service industry on digital advertising is expected to drop from 10.5% to 9.9% during the same period.
Meanwhile, traditional media will continue to lose dollars across nearly all sectors. Only the B2C product category will up investment, though by a minimal 0.8%.
In total, marketers anticipated in August 2013 that the total ad spend growth rate for the following 12 months would reach 4.3%, down from a 6.1% increase anticipated in February for the 12 months that followed.
The individual B2C and B2B sectors each saw a drop in anticipated ad spend growth compared with August 2012, when most sectors’ marketing budgets—excluding the B2B product sector—were still in more of a rebound mode.
Social media continues to be an area of focus—and uncertainty—for marketers, as they continue driving up spending on the digital format. In August 2013, social marketing spending accounted for an average of about 6.6% of marketer budgets. Within the next year, that share was expected to rise to 9.1%, and in the next five years, marketers expected social to account for 15.8% of spending.
Interestingly, in August, the B2B service industry reported the highest percentage of the marketing budget going to social. In the next year, though, both B2C product and service sectors expected to spend more on social as a percentage of their budget compared with the B2B sectors.
However, even as marketers up investments in social, that doesn’t mean they are confident about how social plays into the overall business. Nearly half of marketers in the survey said they hadn’t yet been able to show the impact of social marketing on the business. About 36% did believe they had a good quantitative sense of social value, and more may begin to successfully quantify social return on investment (ROI) in the near future.