dollar squeezedIf the latest CMO Council study translates into dollars, 2009 will be about five percent better for internet advertising than 2008. Last week was filled with analysts making downward adjustments to this year’s internet ad spend outlook, but the more forward-looking CMO study is more optimistic. Consistent, but optimistic.

Specifically, the 650 CMOs surveyed said unanimously that they plan to cut or hold steady on traditional ad spend in TV, print, and radio. 43 percent of them plan to increase spending on interactive and web media by up to five percent this year, and 30 percent will increase internet budgets more than five percent. Last week Bernstein Research put internet ad growth at 5.9 percent after predicting more than 16 percent just five months ago.

The CMO Council study is significant because it takes the pulse of client-side executives currently planning for third and fourth-quarter campaigns. Among its most notable findings:

  • Just under half of marketers expect to spend less overall this year, with 35 percent anticipating cuts of more than 5 percent. In the same survey the last two years, only about 15 percent anticipated budget cuts. This year, 21 percent expect to hold budgets steady, 13 percent to increase spending by five percent or less, and 16 percent by more than  five percent.
  • 42 percent of the respondents expect to change web design and development providers, and 29 percent expect to change interactive marketing agencies.
  • The biggest budgets will go to e-mail marketing (45 percent), followed by social networking or online community building (34 percent), online surveying or research (33 percent), lead management (29 percent), web analytics and multivariable testing (28 percent) and search marketing (26 percent).