Cover Story: Media Usage Survey 2015
Direct marketing media budgets increased markedly last year, and they show no signs of backsliding in 2015, according to Target Marketing's "2015 Media Usage Survey." Respondents appear to be embracing opportunities in search and display advertising to introduce their brands to new customers in a way we haven't seen in years.
Overall, about 45 percent report budgets are staying the same as last year. That's more stability than in 2014, but less than 2013 or 2012 (when roughly 50 percent stayed the same). Meanwhile, less than 15 percent of marketers report a budget decrease, while about twice that many are planning to increase budgets. The combined trend is overall steady growth.
The outlook is even rosier when looking at acquisition and retention budgets. Only about 5 percent of marketers plan to decrease budgets for acquisition or retention, while 42 percent are increasing acquisition budgets, and 32 percent are increasing retention budgets. The data suggests most respondents are out of the recessionary caution-spending era. Now it's full-steam growth mode for many marketers.
There are some surprises in where marketers are putting that money. How has online display advertising made a comeback? And what do marketers mean when they say they're "increasing mobile spending"? Read on to find out.
Overall Media Trends
Most respondents (65 percent) are increasing email spending. That percentage is very large, but in line with years past. In fact, more than 60 percent of respondents have reported increasing email spending in every year since 2010. We're surprised there's still fresh budget to be put into it after all these years of increases.
Search engine marketing (SEM) and optimization (SEO) both continue to be high priorities in direct media budgets, especially for acquisition. That shows up all across the media spending results. It's also apparent in the tactics and technology results in Chart 5, where content marketing, video and mobile optimization were all reported to be high priorities—each offers strong search benefits. Search marketing is one of the most powerful tactics marketers are using to be found by and connect with new customers in 2015.