Online budgets increasing – and right so :) – according to new report from Nielsen’s Vizu

Despite marketers’ continued struggle with measurement of brand advertising, more than half (63 percent) will increase their online brand advertising budgets, according to a report from Nielsen’s Vizu. In addition, 20 percent of respondents said that those budgets would grow by 20 percent or more.

Looks like we were right to start advising our clients last year to be doing the same.

Thanks to Visu and FierceCMO’s for the report below.

“For marketers, 2013 marks a shift in online advertising—to bigger budgets, sounder metrics and a continuing focus on brand advertising that we identified last year,” Vizu said in a statement. “Advertisers are changing how they view the online medium. Long the bastion for direct response, marketers are now embracing online for branding purposes aimed at shifting consumer perception.”

Vizu’s “2013 Online Advertising Performance Outlook” found that brand advertising growth is outpacing direct response. Sixty-one percent of marketers surveyed indicated they are allocating dollars away from direct response to brand advertising initiatives, the survey said. However, most marketers (64 percent) said they do plan to employ a mix of digital brand and direct response advertising.

“Until very recently, it would be reasonable to assume that the lion’s share of that spend was allocated to direct marketing efforts…the inherent measurability of the medium, coupled with an immediate sense of return, made online direct response advertising a cornerstone of many marketers’ efforts to drive conversion,” the report said. “Advertisers, however, did not immediately embrace digital media for branding purposes aimed at shifting consumer perception, reserving those efforts for traditional channels such as print, radio and television. But that’s changing.”

Looking at the report’s data on which channels marketers plan to spend more on also indicates that there is a shift occurring in marketing.

Mobile, social and video are all set to see huge increases in spending this year, the report said. Sixty-nine percent of marketers said they would increase spending on mobile, while 70 percent plan to boost social spending. The real star is video with 64 percent of respondents saying they will spend more on the channel, and 48 percent saying they will actually move dollars from TV to online video.

On the flip side, investments in rich media advertising and standard display advertising will largely remain the same, and are slightly down from last year, the report said. While the numbers do point to a shift, marketers have not yet given up the reliable, cost-effective channels completely: 50 percent said they will invest the same amount in rich media as last year and 48 percent will do the same for display.

While marketers are focusing more on brand advertising, they continue to struggle with proving ROI, the report said.

When asked what would drive them to invest or further invest in online brand advertising, marketers said: Improved clarity around the actual return on brand advertising investment (69 percent); the ability to verify that brand advertising created the desired results (68 percent); the ability to verify that the online brand advertising was actually delivered to the intended audience (42 percent); and the ability to use the same metrics to evaluate brand advertising effectiveness online as are used offline (33 percent).

“The demand for clarity and verifiable results is growing as marketers are being asked to justify every dollar they spend in an uncertain economic environment,” the report said.

The report, conducted for Vizu by the CMO Council, polled 287 senior brand leaders, 176 agency executives and 152 publishing representatives in January and February.

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