Advertisers cautious about online spend

One cannot deny that ad fraud and viewability, is now a growing concern among marketers and advertisers. However, despite this, two thirds of advertisers are committed to increase their online ad spend by 40%. Meanwhile, 21% of advertisers indicate that they will reduce online spend in 2017.

According to a survey by World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and  Ebiquity, 12% of advertisers expect to maintain the same levels of investment in 2018. Performance-focused advertisers were most likely to boost spend, with 48% predicting increases compared to just 18% for brand advertisers. These results are based on responses from more than 50 global advertisers, representing an annual advertising spend of more than US$80 billion.

What's holding them back? 

Amongst those holding back, key concerns among advertisers remain on viewability (90%) and lack of transparency (76%).

An inability to track performance is also a reason with 62% of respondents reporting that they are "dissatisfied" with the overall level of measurement standards in online advertising, and only 45% clearly seeing the value it adds.

As such, advertisers are not yet convinced about the effectiveness of digital advertising, but 75% are willing to accept the challenges it presents.

(Read also: P&G comes down hard on media practices, calls them "murky" and "fraudulent")

“Although the general online advertising investment trend remains on an upward trajectory, this research shows that some advertisers are exercising increased caution regarding their online investment," said Matt Green, global lead – media and digital marketing at the WFA.

He added that until recently, advertisers were comparatively reserved about their frustrations with the lack of robust measurement of effectiveness and the absence of independent verification.

Advertisers have now lost their reticence and are demanding more openness and evidence.

Nick Manning, chief strategy officer for Ebiquity explained that advertisers also want a better understanding of how online contributes to their business performance and how it delivers meaningful return on investment.

“While online advertising is clearly here to stay, our survey results show that 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," said Manning.

What is on the rise?

The survey highlighted that online video will drive investments in online advertisement. For instance, 89% of advertisers are intending to invest more on this platform this year. Around 79% of the advertisers believe video delivers a "high effect", and generates a significantly better performance than static display to create an brand impact.

As a result, 46% of respondents plan to cut back on static display in 2017, with more than half saying the format delivers a "low effect".