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eMarketer-US-Digital-Ad-Spend-Forecast-by-Objective-Sept2013Digital ad spending is currently weighted towards direct response over branding, but that tilt will soon disappear, according to an eMarketer forecast. This year, eMarketer expects that 6 in 10 digital ad dollars will go towards direct response. By 2017, though, advertising dollars will be split almost equally between branding (48.5%) and direct response (51.5%), as the former enjoys double-digit spending growth throughout the 5-year forecast period.

Indeed, brand advertising spending growth will outpace direct response in each year of the forecast, with increases of 18.1% and 11.2% respectively this year and 10.5% and 3.6% respectively in 2017.

The eMarketer forecast aligns with recent survey results from Vizu and the CMO Council, in which 61% of respondents said they are re-allocating budgets away from direct response to brand advertising initiatives. That same survey revealed that 70% of brand marketers expect to up their spending on social media advertising, while similar proportions will increase mobile (69%) and video (64%) ad spend. Interestingly, though, a more recent survey of global marketers (predominantly in Europe) found that few count branding as their top objective for social media ad buys, leaning instead to lead generation. That was a different result than found by Vizu and AdAge in separate surveys indicating branding to be the clear-cut objective for social ad campaigns.

The line between branding and direct-response campaigns tends to be blurring, says eMarketer, which may explain some of the discrepancies in social advertising goals. In any case, the researcher attributes the greater focus on branding to digital’s growing presence in consumers’ media time. That same explanation was given by Vizu and the CMO Council in their survey, with the researchers suggesting that brand marketers and their ad dollars will follow consumers to their chosen digital media channels, whether they be online, tablet, mobile, or connected TV.

About the Data: According to eMarketer, branding campaigns include banner ads, rich media, sponsorships and video. Direct response incudes classified and directories, email, lead generation, mobile messaging (SMS, MMS and P2P messaging) and search.

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