February 04, 2009

New Data: Year-End Survey Shows ROI and Budgets by Tactic

SUMMARY: MarketingSherpa and ad:tech collaborated on another year-end survey of more than 1,200 marketers. Here are some of the most intriguing results about their plans this year for marketing during a recession. Three charts offer looks at which tactics provided great ROI and how marketers are adjusting their budgets in 2009.

MarketingSherpa Chart

This chart shows which marketing tactics were used the most, had the biggest budgets and got the best ROI.

The 'x' axis shows the percentage of marketers describing each tactic as a great return on investment. The 'y' axis shows which tactics were the most used by marketers. For example, email ranks very high in use and with great ROI. The size of the bubble represents the relative budget compared to other tactics.

Paid search is a clear winner in the ROI and budget categories with about 50% of respondents cheering its “great” return. This is likely due to paid search’s sharp targeting and easy measurement. Marketers know exactly how much revenue they generate with each dollar spent, and some are generating a lot.

More than 40% of respondents noted that email marketing to their house lists had great ROI. The relatively small size of the dot means that the tactic requires far less budget than both, paid search and banner ads. That is probably a prime reason why more than 90% of marketers use email.

Display ads, such as banners and buttons, finished second in the expense category. It’s surprising that more than 70% of respondents use them when less than 15% said they’re generating a good ROI. The tighter economy may cause marketers to move dollars into more reliable ROI generators this year.

MarketingSherpa Chart

The power of search marketing is further emphasized in this chart. It compares the reported great and poor ROI of each tactic. PPC and SEO are in the top three, along with email to a house list – the most widely-used tactic.

The bottom half of the list illustrates that poorly targeted online advertising often has poor results. Rich media ads, banner ads and pop-ups have more reports of poor ROI than great ones.

Email to rented lists is also near the bottom of the barrel. Contextual text advertising, such as Google’s AdSense program, performed only slightly better than traditional banner ads.

MarketingSherpa Chart

This chart illustrates which tactics marketers will be investing more money in during 2009. Again, the clear winner is paid search advertising with 57% reporting that their budgets are increasing.

The greatest shift in budgets is for behaviorally targeted ads. About one out of five marketers (21%) are cutting their budget while more than half (52%) are investing more money. Slightly more than 30% of the respondents said that behaviorally targeted ads were providing a great ROI, as noted in the first chart.

Surprisingly, 46% of marketers reported that they are increasing spending on rich media ads, despite the fact that more marketers reported that they deliver a poor ROI (27%) than a great ROI (23%), as noted in the second chart.

Traditional online ads will get more spending from 29% of marketers. That tops the 24% who said they’re cutting budgets in this area. This is surprising as well since about 1 out of 3 respondents (34%) said banner ads deliver a poor ROI and only 13% said they were great.

Perhaps the branding effect of the ads, while not directly attributable to revenue, is seen as vital. Almost half of marketers (47%) are holding steady in this category.

Useful links related to this article:

New Chart: What are Top Priorities for Marketers at Biggest B2B Organizations in 2009?


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