Digital Marketing Growth in 2014

Marketers have solidly committed to increasing their spending on digital advertising this year.

A whopping 93% plan to increase or maintain marketing budgets for the year.  This is up from 89% in 2013.  Email marketing, social media marketing, search marketing, display marketing and mobile marketing top the list of areas for increased spending in 2014.

Out of the nearly 400 businesses responding to the 2014 Marketing Trends Strongview survey, about 52% will allocate more money to their email marketing, 41% will spend more on search and 46% will increase their marketing campaigns on social media. The improved allocation to digital advertising will be accompanied by a shift away from traditional media. At least 32% of businesses will decrease their budgets for print advertising, 17% indicate that they’ll cut radio and TV ad budgets, and 21% plan to do fewer direct mail campaigns.

2014 is shaping up to be the year when marketers work hard to integrate their other channels. 55% of businesses plan to connect mobile with email and 59% will integrate social media with email. These integrations should help them leverage specific types of data with their email marketing campaigns. For example, 26% use location data, 31% use web behavior and 21% use channel engagement to help them refine their email tactics.

Survey Highlights

  • 40% cite accessing and leveraging customer data as biggest email marketing challenge; 36% lack of resources; 32% developing more relevant engagements
  • 44% have goal to improve engagement; 36% to improve segmentation and targeting; 31% to grow opt-in lists
  • 93% plan to increase or maintain marketing budgets in 2014; 46% plan to increase
  • 52% plan to increase email marketing spend; 46% social media; 41% search; 36% display
  • 57% of email lifecycle marketing to be focused on loyalty;  53% on welcome; 50% winback
  • 59% plan to integrate email with social; 55% with mobile; 23% with display
  • 55% of marketers chose Facebook as the most valuable social channel; 18% LinkedIn; 10% Twitter; less than 5% named Pinterest, Google+ or Instagram as most valuable

Across channels, marketers report that a key objective in 2014 will be to increase engagement with customers, primarily by creating campaigns with higher degrees of relevancy based on contextual clues.  StrongView recommends that marketers achieve relevancy by developing campaigns that adopt the tenents of "Present Tense Marketing," whereby marketers adapt in real time to a customer's present tense or current state, putting the next marketing action in the proper context of their activities.

Email Marketing Remains Strong

The stalwart channels of email and search marketing remain principal avenues for marketers to reach customers, with social media marketing continuing to rise in importance. More than 50% of marketers plan budget increases in email and 46% in social marketing in 2014; 41% of marketers plan to increase search spending, up from 39.8% in 2013.

Respondents reported intentions to increase spending for automated email programs such as lifecycle (34%) and triggered events (38%). Of the marketers who plan to increase spend on lifecycle email marketing programs, 57% plan to focus on loyalty programs with 50% indicating a focus on winback efforts and 53% on welcoming new customers.  These and other data support marketers’ plans to make strides in customer engagement in the coming year.

Largest Social Platforms Considered Most Valuable

While the investment in social channels overall to engage customers is set to increase in 2014 (46%), marketers overwhelmingly and, not surprisingly, name the largest social platforms as their most valuable channels.

Facebook ranked among the top three by 81% of marketers, Twitter by 67%, YouTube by 48% and LinkedIn by 44%.  Pinterest, for example, though noted as valuable to some degree by more than 85% of respondents, was listed as a top three most valuable channel by less than 13% of marketers. Highly popular Instagram was only ranked in the top three by 10% of marketers, though 86% saw some value.

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