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Marketing budgets are cut for the first time in seven years

According to the Q3 IPA Bellwether Report, UK marketers recorded a slight reduction in marketing budgets for the third quarter of 2019 – the first time there has been a decrease in seven years.

A net balance of 0.5% of advertisers reported downward adjustments to their marketing budgets for July to September. Meanwhile, 64.1% reported no change to overall marketing budgets. IPA has suggested that this decrease (or stagnation) suggests an  “underlying tone of hesitancy” among UK businesses, fuelled by the current state of political and economic uncertainty.

Some companies indicated that, in the interest of cost efficiency, they had re-allocated budgets to online and social media-based campaigns, keeping total budgets unchanged in the process. Approximately 18.2% of companies reported cuts to total ad expenditure, while 17.7% reported budget growth.

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How much of your media budget should you spend on paid search? A data-backed answer.

B2B companies failing to see the value of content marketing

A new report by Turtl and Forrester has revealed that a large percentage of B2B companies are failing to see the value of content marketing, leading to a disconnect between sales and marketing teams.

From a survey of 214 B2B marketing and sales decision-makers, it was determined that 94% of companies are struggling to generate insights from marketing-created content and experiences.

As a result of this, 21% of sales teams are less likely than marketers to say that marketing is the key driver of business growth. What’s more, 21% of sales employees are less likely to say that the marketing organisation generates predictable and measurable buyer acquisition, and 14% are less likely to believe that marketing leadership plays a central role in steering the direction of the business.

It’s not all bad news for marketing though. The study also found that departments which have implemented interactive content (that provides buyer insights) found that it improved lead generation processes (48%), led to higher conversion rates (42%) and raised the profile of marketing within the business (48%). 

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Asos profits drop 68%

Asos has announced that its pre-tax profits have fallen 68% to £33m; the result of what it has called a “disappointing year”.

The online retailer has blamed this drop on costly operational expansion in Europe and the US, and an inability to keep up with demand.

Asos’ saw sales growth of just 13% in the year to the end of August – half the 26% growth seen in 2018. Despite this, however, investors seem confident in Asos’ comeback – its share price has risen more than 16% since the earnings announcement.

What does ASOS’ new returns policy mean for ecommerce? We ask the experts

SEO budgets drop an average of 5%

Zazzle Media’s ‘State of SEO Survey 2019’ has revealed that less is being spent on SEO in 2019, despite its high level of importance and effectiveness. Zazzle’s survey was filled out by 70% in-house marketers, and 30% from other agencies, including Disney, the RAC, and Oxfam.

The research found that there has been a 5% drop in SEO budget since 2018, with the average budget now at 22%. The main reason for this appears to be resource and budget shortage, with 60% of marketers stating this as the main reason they don’t spend more. However, second to this is the challenge of proving value to secure further investment; this points to the ongoing challenge of winning over senior stakeholders and educating further up the company structure. Thirdly, a quarter of marketers said that ‘other channels deliver better return’.

Zazzle’s survey also found that issues from last year have yet to be resolved. In 2018, 30% of marketers said they didn’t know how to effectively measure and understand the results from their SEO activity. This percentage remains the same in 2019.

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48% of internet users have posted an online review in the past month

With 76% of internet users buying products online each month, a new report by GlobalWebIndex has delved into the factors that influence consumers to promote brands online.

Interestingly, the report states that, globally, 48% of internet users have posted a review of a product or service in the past month. This figure has consistently increased over the past two years, rising from 42% in Q2 2017. The report also suggests that there are more people posting reviews than using them to inform their purchasing decisions, as just 36% use consumer reviews for product research.

When it comes to the reasons for brand advocacy, 48% of global internet users say that high-quality products motivate them to promote a brand online, making this the most important incentive among the 11 brand advocacy motivations tracked in the study. Promoting a brand in exchange for great customer service also makes it into the top five, with almost a third citing this as a primary motivation.

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How to encourage online reviews (and reasons why you should)

Continuous-scroll feeds generate 20% more attentiveness

With attention spans dropping from 12 seconds in 2000 to just eight seconds in 2018, a new study by Nielsen has aimed to pinpoint when and how consumers are the most engaged. The study measured consumer responsiveness across publisher sites with different end of article experiences.

Neilsen found participants displayed an 8% lower cognitive load at the end of an article, compared to any other point during the article reading experience. When cognitive load is lower, this means you are typically more open-minded and ready for a new experience.

This finding suggests that people will be more receptive of whatever content appears next, giving advertisers and publishers have a big opportunity to reach people as soon as they’re finished reading an article.

Further to this, the study found that participants are 20% more attentive when presented with a continuous scroll feed compared to articles without content recommendations at the bottom. What’s more, participants generated a 17% higher emotional response to the feed than to any kind of finite end of article experience.

With people being fed continuous scroll feeds on almost every major social platform, the results suggests that publishers should replicate this social experience by providing a feed of content after articles, effectively targeting the audience in the moment they’re most receptive to new content.

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