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Jan 26, 2004

Survey Results Part II: Net Marketers Reveal Safest Tactics vs What They Yearn to Test

SUMMARY: What's the safest way you can spend your e-marketing budget for 2004? We surveyed 290 of the biggest marketers to learn what they'd invest in to maximize results.

Plus, we also asked "What would you spend $100k on if your CEO told you to 'Test something new'?" The results were surprising:
In Part I of our AD:TECH survey results (link below), we revealed what 290 heavy Net advertisers, spending an average of 47% of their budget online, were planning for 2004.

But, what if the economy gets better this year? What if budgets are expanded? How would advertisers handle an extra windfall of say $100,000 being added to their budget?

We asked everyone this question in two different ways to find out what's the safest proven tactic you can invest in versus what's the most worthy-of-testing new tactic you should consider?

The answers to both questions were "write-ins" and not pre- determined check boxes, because we wanted to know what was really going on in experienced Net advertisers' minds. Here's what they revealed:

-> Safest proven tactics to invest in

Survey question: "What would you spend $100,000 on if your CEO (or client) handed you the money in addition to your regular online budget and said, 'Spend this for guaranteed maximum impact'?"

As expected, search was the big winner with 28% of respondents. Lots of people specified PPC search but "Google" was the only brand of search purchase mentioned by name. A handful of people said SEO specifically. Most used a more generic term that might include SEO, or not.

Email and online ad spending (exclusive of search) were tied neck and neck with 18% of the votes each.

While most voting for email used fairly generic terms, several were careful to say "house lists" and others specified, "newsletter sponsorship." This falls completely in line with what respondents already said worked best in 2003.

Online ad fans often specified terms such as "contextual", or "behavioral." Four times as many respondents mentioned "rich media" than the ones saying "text links." Only one sole respondent said "pops" and just three said "CPA", so we suspect these formerly popular tactics may be on the wane.

One other interesting online ad trend -- many respondents specified that they wanted to spend more on portals or "top sites", and or they planned "saturation of key sites." So, instead of reaching to a multitude of sites, the idea seems to be to dominate the big ones as much as you can.

Worth noting -- although this survey question specified "online," just over 10% of respondents said they'd spend the extra budget offline on media such as TV, PR, postal mailings, print ads, and/or trade shows. (This is the first time since late 2000 that we've heard e-marketers eager to spend more on print ads.)

Weirdly, site or landing page design weren't mentioned by anyone at all, despite the fact that 69% of survey respondents answered elsewhere that they plan to increase budgeted spending for this in 2004. Somehow, design isn't exciting enough to be top-of- mind for write-ins.

-> Most worthy-of-testing new tactics

Survey question: "What would you spend $100,000 on if your CEO (or client) handed you the money in addition to your regular online budget and said, 'Please test something new'?"

Overall the biggest groupings of write-in votes came in for:

Rich media 18%
Offline media 13%
Search 12%
Online ads (not including search) 11%
Wireless 8%
Email 8%
Desktop applications/RSS/IM 5%
Site/landing page design 4%

We admit, we never expected to see wireless neck and neck with email given the hurdles to US wireless media buying. Plus, offline media is definitely coming back in fashion again, with the highest percent of write-ins voting for "radio" (a media not mentioned at all in the "safe buys" category above.)

Optimization was mentioned by name more in the search category, and behavior targeting continued to be very popular among online ad fans.

A couple of respondents named "blogs" (which we can't imagine how you'd spend $100k on). Viral and affiliate campaigns got four hand raisers each.

Desktop apps, which probably wouldn't have been on the radar if we had conducted this survey a year ago, are now gaining a solid toe-hold in the marketplace. In fact, based on results, we predict this one category will see the highest "vote growth" by this time next year.

It's a fascinating time to be in online.

-> Useful links:

Part I of Survey Results: Heavy Internet Marketers Reveal What's Working What's Not, & 2004 Budgets

See Also:

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