ipa bellwether
Marketing budgets and business confidence

Marketers have revised their budgets for digital ad spend up by the greatest extent in almost a decade as they shift priority to more activation-based marketing amid growing economic uncertainty and a “murky outlook”.

In the IPA’s latest quarterly Bellwether survey, covering the second quarter, 32% of respondents said they increased their internet marketing budgets, versus 9% that recorded a fall. That means an overall net balance of 22.7%, up from 16.9% in Q1 and the highest level since the third quarter of 2007.

That growth in internet ad budgets has also helped drive marketing budgets up. Some 28% of the survey panel recorded an upward revision to budgets in the second quarter, compared to 15% that said it had fallen, resulting in a net balance of 13.8% seeing increased budgets.

That was again higher than the 11.8% recorded in the previous quarter and means the majority of marketers have been increasing their budgets for almost five continuous years.

“On the surface, the corporate sector seems to be in good health,” says Paul Smith, senior economist at IHS Markit. “Our headline data shows that underlying budget growth is being sustained at a robust clip, extending a current record sequence of expansion to just short of five years.

“Companies report that product demand remains positive, underpinning the expansion of marketing budgets, particularly for use in the digital space.”

Search and SEO saw some of the biggest increases, with a net balance of 15.6% of marketers planning to increase spend, the highest level in 2.5 years. Main media advertising also saw a net balance of 9.8%, but this was down from 10.7% in the previous quarter.

ipa bellwether