Marketers, Agencies Not Ready to Spend, Even Online

Fewer Expect to Increase Web Spending in Next 6 Months

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- A new study shows that the number of marketers and agencies feeling optimistic about increasing their investments in the online space has dropped dramatically in a four-month period.

According to the March 2009 Advertiser Optimism Report by Advertiser Perceptions, between this most recent report and the company's November report, the number of marketers and their agency partners feeling optimistic about increasing their online spending in the next six months dropped 16 percentage points, from 68% to 52%.

If you're thinking that a decrease in confidence in the web -- the area where the ad dollars were supposed to funnel due to its cost effectiveness and measurability -- can't be a good signal for other ad-supported media, you're right. The report shows that optimism in media overall is declining, and more marketers and agencies plan to decrease their ad spending in media such as broadcast TV, newspapers, magazines, mobile, and radio.

The biggest decrease in confidence occurred in magazines. In November, 36% of the 200 media decision makers surveyed said they intended to decrease their ad spending in magazines in the next six months. Just four months later, that number had jumped to 53%.

Newspapers take hit too
With numerous daily newspapers either folding or laying off big chunks of their reporting staffs, it should come as no surprise that the other big losers included local and national newspapers, which both saw similar increases in those planning on cutting back on their advertising spending. The percentage looking to advertise less increased to 59% from 44% in local newspapers and to 60% from 47% in national newspapers.

Other media such as broadcast TV (35% to 41%), mobile (12% to 17%) and radio (36% to 39%) saw smaller increases in the number of marketers and agencies that said they want to curtail spending.

Cable TV saw a decrease in the number of marketers and agencies that want to cut their ad spending, to 23% from 24%, perhaps a result of all the talk about cable networks losing business due to automotive companies pulling ads. The idea of networks scrambling to sell off now-empty spots probably reeks of opportunity for some marketers hoping to swoop in and buy the spots at bargain prices.

Outdoor also got a boost of confidence, with fewer participants (29%, from 32%) stating they planned to cut back on spending.

Other bright spots included two areas new to this year's study: online display and online search, both of which scored fairly well, with more than half of those surveyed (51% for display and 53% for search) saying they would increase spending in those areas in the next six months.

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