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Media budgets will increase in ’03

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This year may finally see a rebound in ad spending, according to a survey released last month by InsightExpress L.L.C. and MediaPost Communications.

Forty-five percent of the more than 1,000 media buyers surveyed said their budgets would increase this year compared with last. Only 17% said their media budgets would decrease. The remaining 38% said their budgets would remain flat.

"We had a couple of rough years in 2000 and 2001, but there is a new sense of optimism as far as spending ad dollars," said Doug Adams, director of marketing at InsightExpress, Stamford, Conn.

Media reporting firm CMR estimates total ad spending rose 2.5% in 2002, due to increased spending in the fourth quarter during Congressional elections. Final numbers for the year have not been reported.

The InsightExpress survey was conducted online in early February. Roughly two-thirds of the respondents were media buyers and media planners at advertising agencies, and about one-third were marketing executives with responsibility for media buying decisions. The media buyers represent b-to-b and b-to-c marketing.

Among those increasing their ad budgets this year, 36% said they would increase their budgets for online advertising; 31% said they would increase spending on cable TV; and 22% said they would spend more on radio.

"For b-to-b marketers in particular, online is a highly valued, highly targeted medium that is performing well," Adams said. "The more targeted, segmented media will come out higher."

Among those decreasing their ad budgets, 20% said they’d spend less on radio; 20% said they’d spend less on newspapers; and 20% said they’d spend less on outdoor.

When asked to select a single medium on which to spend ad dollars, 23% of respondents chose network TV; 19% chose online; 16% chose magazines.

While marketing budgets seem to be on the rise, there is also increased scrutiny of how the money is being spent, the survey found. Eighty percent of respondents said they expect to be held even more accountable for results this year than last year. And 64% said they believe their jobs will be more difficult this year.

When asked to identify the three most important factors in selecting media, 61% said reach; 53% said CPM; and 40% said quality of the ad environment.

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