UK companies will continue to invest heavily in online marketing channels and associated technology during 2012 as the digital economy goes from strength to strength, according to research published today.

The Marketing Budgets 2012 Report, published by Econsultancy in partnership with Experian Marketing Services, has found that there is a continued shift of focus to online channels, with more than two-thirds (68%) of companies increasing their digital budgets for 2012.

This compares to nearly half (45%) of companies who said they intend to increase their overall marketing budgets and only 16% planning to increase their traditional (offline) marketing budgets.

The research, in its third year, looks at relative levels of planned spending this year across a range of marketing channels, comparing online and offline budgets while also looking at planned investment in different types of marketing technology.

The research has found:

-) Of those companies increasing their digital marketing budgets, 79% will increase them by more than 10%.

-) Three-quarters (74%) of companies are increasing their investment in digital marketing technology this year, up from 67% in 2011.

-) More than half (56%) of companies are planning to recruit more people into their digital marketing teams in 2012, up from 52% in 2011.

Econsultancy Research Director Linus Gregoriadis said: “At a time when the importance of the digital economy is so well documented, companies are demonstrating their commitment to online marketing channels and the technology required to make their campaigns as effective as possible.

“The majority of companies are increasing investment in both established digital channels, such as email and paid search, as well as fast growing areas such as social media and mobile marketing.”

He added: “With many companies being forced to tighten their belts due to uncertain economic conditions, it is also encouraging to see so many organisations expanding their digital teams to harness the opportunities to engage and sell to consumers in a fast changing digital environment.”

The research is based on a survey of more than 500 marketers carried out by Econsultancy in December 2011 and January 2012. On average, companies are spending 36% of their total marketing budgets on digital, compared to 37% in 2011.

“While spend is increasing, it is little surprise that much of the dynamic growth has been in companies trying to understand, interpret and measure customer behaviour within this increasingly complex marketing ecosystem,” said Mark Zablan, Managing Director, Experian Marketing Services, UK & Ireland.

“The key to success is turning huge quantities of data into insights which show behaviour not only across channels, devices and platforms, but which also span both the online and offline worlds and drive customer engagement.

"Marketers are therefore investing in the tools, technology and people to allow them to deliver greater returns on their campaigns and present insight and results back to the business in a meaningful and incisive way.”

Other key findings:

-) While companies are recruiting for digital, lack of staff to make the most of any digital investment is the joint second most widely cited barrier (after company culture) preventing companies from investing more money in digital marketing. It has increased significantly as a problem in the last 12 months, from 23% in 2011 to 34% this year.

-) Companies are still better at measuring digital than traditional channels, with just over half of (55%) of client-side marketers surveyed claiming to have a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ understanding of ROI from digital channels (compared to 44% for traditional channels).

-) Although there is typically increased spending across most digital marketing channels, social media is the area in which companies are most likely to be increasing investment. Around two-thirds of companies surveyed expect to increase their budgets this year for ‘off-site’ social media (69%), including spending on networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

-) Mobile is also an area of increased investment. More than half (57%) of companies surveyed indicate they plan to invest in mobile applications in 2012. QR codes and mobile commerce also rank highly on their priority list, with 48% and 34% of client-side marketers, respectively, saying they will invest in these areas.

-) Television is the only offline channel in which a higher proportion of companies are planning to invest more in 2012 (32% compared to 31% last year).

Report URL


A complimentary report is available to journalists. Please email for details.

Media contacts:

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director, Econsultancy
(e: linus AT t: +44 (0) 207 269 1465 )

About Econsultancy

Econsultancy is a privately owned, subscription-based online publisher and community with offices in London and New York. With over 105,000 global members, it offers best practice reports, analysis and insight into the business of digital marketing and e-commerce.

Econsultancy’s website and blog attracts over 180,000 unique users per month and its range of courses and conferences are attended by over 3,000 marketers every year on its public courses and in-house customised training programmes.

For more information, visit or follow @econsultancy on Twitter.

About Experian Marketing Services

Experian Marketing Services delivers best-in-breed customer data and insight, marketing technologies and data management services into multiple regions around the globe. It is focused on helping marketers more effectively target and engage their best customers with meaningful communications across both traditional and digital media.

Experian Marketing Services enables organisations to encourage brand advocacy, create measurable return on investment and significantly improve the lifetime value of their customers.

For more information, please visit

Published on: 10:34AM on 1st February 2012