Brands up digital ad spend despite not seeing its value

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 28 April 2017

More than two thirds of big brands have committed to increasing digital ad spend, despite the current concerns surrounding brand safety, viewability and the reliability of metrics, according to a survey by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).

Marketers plan to plough more money into digital despite the same survey also revealing that 62% of marketers asked claimed to be 'dissatisfied' with measurement standards in online ads. More worryingly almost half (45% can’t clearly see what value online advertising adds and nearly two thirds (72%) believe advertisers have “over-invested” in digital in recent years.

The survey, which surveyed 50 of the worlds largest marketers who represent $80 billion of global ad spend, also revealed that despite not being convinced that digital advertising is effective, 75% of marketers are willing to accept that.


Some have said they will increase digital spend by up to 40%, according to the survey, while half expect to increase digital spend by 20%, and a third will maintain or reduce their spending level. Those most likely to increase digital ad spend were marketers that identified as ‘performance-focused’. Just 18% of marketers that claim to be brand marketers planned to increase digital spend.


The appetite for digital does not appear to have been impacted by the current swirling concerns over the effectiveness of digital channels and the transparency of metrics or trading.

Nearly nine in 10 marketers plan to invest more in online video in the next 12 months - despite the brand safety issues facing YouTube and Facebook, with many (69%) planning to use it as a brand building channel rather than a precision targeting channel. The majority of advertisers said this planned increase is because video delivers better performance than static display ads. Nearly half of advertisers (46%) plan to cut back static display ad spend.

Viewability (90%) and lack of transparency (76%) are seen as the major concerns.

Nick Manning, chief strategy officer for Ebiquity, says: “Online advertising is clearly here and here to stay – it’s the present and the future. But our survey results show advertisers are not convinced by current measurement standards. Respondents demonstrate strong support for recent public calls by Marc Pritchard of Procter & Gamble and others for higher standards in independent measurement and verification in online advertising. Advertisers also want a better understanding of how online contributes to their business performance and how it delivers meaningful return on investment.”

The survey was conducted on behalf of the WFA by Ebiquity and presented at World Advertising Week in Toronto, Canada.

You might also like



Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop me a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day. Need a job? Visit

comments powered by Disqus