Thanks mainly to email marketing and online lead generation campaigns, more than half of US companies (53%) have increased their marketing budgets during the past year despite slower and harder economic conditions, according to research from E-Consultancy and Clash-Media.
The extra budget is largely being used to fund high-return marketing campaigns including online lead generation and email marketing (75%).
At the same time, paid search campaigns have become less popular within the overall online marketing strategy, with 12% fewer companies using it compared to 2008, mainly because a return on investment (ROI) can be harder to achieve and measure.
According to the study, the US currently leads the way in online marketing innovation, with 49% of companies using social media marketing (compared to 32% in the UK and 29% in Europe).
Matthew Conlin, sales director for Clash-Media US, said: "Advertisers need more visibility of their campaigns and more relevant data in order to achieve better results overall. It's important that campaigns are personalised for potential customers, and US marketers lead in their integration of social media marketing into the media mix. This now combines with other methods - like online lead generation and online display advertising - to achieve a greater ROI."
Some of the marketers surveyed provided additional insight into why they are now moving even more budget toward the online channels, with their reasons including:
- Better comparability between online and offline. Cost per lead analysis has enabled us to shift budgets from offline to online.
- Offline is too expensive and doesn't get the same response speed as online. Online gives faster calls to action and results.
- It has become more important to measure the ROI, considering typical advertising and marketing budget cuts.