Digital marketing proved to be the driving force behind a boost in Q2 ad budgets, according to a new IPA Bellwether Report.

Overall UK marketing budgets were increased in Q2 2013, with 22% of companies indicating an upward revision in the latest survey compared to 15% that had scaled back spending. The resulting net balance of +7.3% is the highest since Q3 2007.

One of the key factors in this increase was what the report rather broadly refers to as ‘the internet’. A net balance of +17.4% of companies indicated that internet-related marketing budgets had been increased, up form +8.9% in Q1.

This put it far above the other budget areas in the report, with PR achieving the second highest net increase with just +3.4%. 

Within the internet advertising category, search/SEO was revised up to the highest rate for a year-and-a-half with a net balance of +13.7%.

Analysis of marketing budgets in Q2

However this is a gloomier outlook than we found in our own Marketing Budgets Report published in partnership with Responsys.

Reflecting a slightly more optimistic economic environment, 54% of companies surveyed intended to increase their overall marketing investment in 2013 (up from 45% in 2012), while 71% reported increases for their digital budgets this year (up from 68%).

The average expected increase (for those increasing digital budgets) was 28%, slightly higher than the average expected increase of 26% for offline budgets.

It should be noted however that the IPA report refers only to spending changes in Q2, whereas the Econsultancy report reflects spending plans for the entire year.

The Bellwether Report also found a growing confidence among businesses in regards to their financial prospects.

The data showed that 43% of respondents had grown more confident when compared to the situation in Q1, with 16% becoming more pessimistic.

The Bellwether is based on a questionnaire survey of around 300 UK-based companies that provide regular quarterly information on trends in their marketing activities.