Research: 53% of UK marketers to maintain marketing budgets

AudienceXpress, FreeWheel’s premium video media sales house, has published the findings from the third iteration of the 2023 Advanced TV Uncovered study, conducted by independent media research firm CoLab Media Consulting.

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 remains strong in advanced TV channels such as VoD, Connected TV (CTV), OTT and addressable linear TV.

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.

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 per cent planning to at least sustain current levels of spending 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 per cent of UK respondents by a notable margin of 13 per cent. The second most important priority for UK advertisers is growing revenue, according to 38 percent of survey participants. For UK agencies it is customer retention (34 per cent).

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

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 percent 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 percent of participants were planning to boost investment in the channels. Present satisfaction levels with advanced TV spend also point towards growth, as 42 per cent of UK marketers surveyed would like to see their organization 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 per cent), followed by the ability to connect with viewers across screens (25 per cent).

When it comes to defining which factors are inhibiting spending, advertisers and agencies diverge. For the UK advertisers surveyed, lack of awareness around advanced TV is the biggest barrier to unlocking further growth (44 per cent), but the UK agencies who took part in the study are less than half as likely to hold this opinion (20 per cent ). Instead, 30 per cent 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 AVoD and free ad-supported streaming TV services (FASTs) will attract higher levels of spending in the year ahead, believe 88 per cent of UK marketers surveyed. According to 20 percent of respondents, these increases in spending 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,” commented 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.”

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