UK companies revised their marketing budgets up markedly in the first quarter of 2019, a stark contrast to the final quarter of 2018 when spend stagnated, as they made efforts to protect their brands amid ongoing economic uncertainty.
According to the quarterly IPA Bellwether, a net balance of 8.7% of marketing executives reported increasing their budgets, up from 0% in the final three months of 2018 and the highest level since Q3 2017. More than a fifth (21.6%) reported spending growth, while 12.8% said budgets had been cut.
The internet was once again the best performing category, with the net balance of those increasing spend jumping to 17.2%, up from 2.1% in the prior quarter. In particular, search/SEO saw a swing from cuts of -3.9% in Q4 2018 to growth of 14.2% last quarter.
There was also a renewed drive for big-ticket ad campaigns with a net balance of 5.2% of marketers increasing spend, a turnaround from the 6.2% decline in the prior quarter. Events also saw expenditure growth of 3.4%.
However, sales promotions, market research and direct marketing budgets all took a hit, while PR spend was reported as flat.
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