February 1, 2012, 10:23 AM

Digital marketing budgets in the U.K. will get a boost this year

A survey finds that most companies will increase spending for online marketing.

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Online marketing will get a boost this year in the United Kingdom, according to a report released today, with 68% of surveyed companies planning to increase their digital marketing budgets over the next 12 months. By comparison, 16% of companies will spend more on non-digital marketing this year than in 2011.

The findings from research and consulting firm Econsultancy and marketing services company Experian Marketing Services are based on a survey of 500 unidentified firms conducted in December and January. On average, the survey finds, respondents will spend 36% of their total marketing budgets on digital efforts in 2012, slightly less than 37% in 2011.

“The majority of companies are increasing investment in both established digital channels, such as e-mail and paid search, as well as fast-growing areas such as social media and mobile marketing,” says Econsultancy research director Linus Gregoriadis.

For companies that plan to spend more on digital marketing, 79% of them will increase spending by more than 10%. And for all respondents, 56% of them plan to hire more employees for their digital marketing staffs, up from 51% that said the same thing for last year’s survey.

“With many companies being forced to tighten their belts due to uncertain economic conditions, it is also encouraging to see so many organizations expanding their digital teams to harness the opportunities to engage and sell to consumers in a fast-changing digital environment,” Gregoriadis says.

The report also found that:

• Company culture and lack of employees are the two main reasons that prevent companies from doing more digital marketing.

• 55% of respondents say they have a “very good” or “good” understanding of the return on investment for digital marketing, higher than the 44% for non-digital efforts.

• 69% of respondents plan to spend more this year than in 2011 on social marketing via Facebook, Twitter and similar outlets.

• 57% of respondents say they will invest in mobile applications in 2012.

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