Most UK marketers bullish on maintaining budgets into 2023

Image by Alexander Stein from Pixabay

More than half of UK marketers aim to maintain their marketing budgets into next year, despite grave economic headwinds.

That’s according to AudienceXpress, FreeWheel’s premium video media sales house, which today announced the findings from the third iteration of the 2023 Advanced TV Uncovered study, conducted by independent media research firm CoLab Media Consulting.

Marketers to maintain overall budgets

The study explored UK marketers’ perspective over the next 12 months, highlighting a cautious approach to marketing spend in light of the current economic climate. 

It also uncovered that confidence in Advanced TV, including video-on-demand (VOD), Connected TV (CTV), OTT and addressable linear TV, remains strong among those surveyed.

Between 18 July and 22 July 2022, 500 marketing decision makers or influencers in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain (EU5) were surveyed by independent media research firm CoLab Media Consulting, on behalf of AudienceXpress. 

The study aimed to understand how advertisers and agencies across these five European countries are adapting to the current market forces; how they are adjusting spending priorities and preparing for the year ahead.

The EU5 Markets Survey 2022 found that while advertisers and agencies align on their overall top marketing objective of acquiring new customers, they diverge on other priorities and have different perspectives on how Advanced TV can capture greater spend.

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Caution influences overall marketing budgets

The UK market appears to be particularly sensitive to current economic uncertainty compared to the other EU5 markets surveyed (Germany, France, Italy, Spain), as UK respondents show caution around boosting overall marketing investments. 

Most will not ‘go dark’ in the year ahead, however, with 53% planning to at least sustain current levels of spend or even increase it.

Customer acquisition is marketers’ overall top priority for the year

Budgets will likely be used to drive customer acquisition, which is now the top marketing priority for 43% of UK respondents by a notable margin of 13%. 

The second most important priority for UK advertisers is growing revenue, according to 38% of survey participants. For UK agencies it is customer retention (34%).

In line with the upper-funnel priorities, 45% regard reach as the number one driver for marketing success. While advertisers rate targeting as the second most important driver (26%), agencies place importance on media channel selection (32%) and tailoring creative (30%).

Optimism for Advanced TV is on the rise as 2023 approaches

Confidence in Advanced TV channels appears to be accelerating in the UK market, as 70% of respondents expect to increase their Advanced TV budgets in the next 12 months. 

In comparison, the previous survey conducted in 2021, found that 60% of participants were planning to boost investment in the channels. Present satisfaction levels with Advanced TV spend also point towards growth, as 42% of UK marketers surveyed would like to see their organisation invest more in these channels.

Targeting capabilities fuel Advanced TV growth, but education is paramount

The sophisticated audience targeting methods that Advanced TV offers is considered the top driver of spend (28%), followed by the ability to connect with viewers across screens (25%).

When it comes to defining which factors are inhibiting spend, advertisers and agencies diverge. 

For the UK advertisers surveyed, lack of awareness around Advanced TV is the biggest barrier to unlocking further growth (44%), but the UK agencies who took part in the study are less than half as likely to hold this opinion (20%). 

Instead, 30% of UK agencies rank clients’ lack of willingness to experiment with Advanced TV channels as the most significant inhibitor to spend.

Ad-supported Advanced TV is earning significant interest

Advanced TV channels such as ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) and free ad-supported streaming TV services (FASTs) will attract higher levels of spend in the year ahead, believe 88% of UK marketers surveyed. 

According to 20% of respondents, these increases in spend will most likely be sourced from a combination of budgets.

“Optimism for AVOD and FASTs among UK marketers closely reflects the collective enthusiasm of the EU5 markets, with on average almost nine in ten survey respondents planning to increase their levels of spend in these channels,” said Stefanie Briec, Director, Head of Demand Sales UK & International AudienceXpress at FreeWheel. 

“Continuing to meet marketers’ demand for advanced technological capabilities, such as data-driven and audience-based targeting, will drive additional growth. 

“These findings also highlight the importance of raising awareness, as well as the need to quantify Advanced TV’s performance and prove the value of adopting these impactful channels.”