Advertising Improving, But Sponsorship Still a Tough Sell Says Report.

It’s been a tough year to sell advertising and sponsorship. Even the most worthy of projects, offering proven ROI have suffered from perceptions in the wider economy and tightening of budgets. Are things might be getting better?

The latest IPA/BDO Bellwether survey reveals that marketing spend fell for the eighth quarter running in Q3 but with the smallest reduction in budgets in over a year. Due to a strong rebound in business confidence – 47 per cent of companies surveyed are seeing improved prospects, consistent with the economy returning to growth.

The switch to digital advertising, where direct results can be accurately measured, is continuing. It’s no surprise that a medium can can give you instantanious information about how many views, clicks, sales, and increasingly monitor brand sentiment is attracting more investment than platforms like outdoor and newspapers where the cause and effect of advertising is harder to measure.

Amongst those companies surveyed, internet advertising was the only category to see an increase in spend with budgets rising for the first time since Q2 2008.

The bad news for those selling sponsorship is that below-the-line activity such as PR, events and sponsorship again saw the steepest cuts.

The retail and travel & entertainment sectors saw upward revisions to spend, with the steepest falls seen in financial services, other non-governmental services, IT & computing, and industrial sectors.

Says Rory Sutherland, IPA President, Vice-Chairman, Ogilvy Group UK:

“Although marketing spend is still falling this latest Bellwether is an encouraging sign that budget cutting is slowing. Whilst companies are still understandably wary the report reveals a strong rise in business confidence and the suggestion that GDP may well have risen in Q3. It will be interesting to see whether the rise in internet spend will presage an upturn in other categories. “