Digiday+ Research: Brands and agencies agree they are confident in Google, but differ on ad spend

This research is based on unique data collected from our proprietary audience of publisher, agency, brand and tech insiders. It’s available to Digiday+ members. More from the series →

It’s hard to argue that Google is a vital piece of the marketing budget equation, but a recent Digiday+ Research survey found that brands and agencies don’t always see eye-to-eye when it comes to how much ad spend to put there.

Digiday surveyed 90 brand and agency professionals in the third quarter to find out how their marketing spend lines up with their confidence that Google drives success as a marketing channel, and found some differences between the two groups.

To start, Digiday’s survey found that brands and agencies agree that Google drives the most marketing success when compared with other marketing channels. In fact, agencies’ confidence in Google is higher than that of brands: 69% of brand respondents said they are confident that Google drives marketing success, compared with 72% of agency respondents who said they are confident the channel drives success for their clients.

But how do these findings measure up when it comes to how brands and agencies are actually allocating marketing budgets?

When it comes to brands, it turns out their confidence in Google as a marketing channel is reflected in how much they actually spend there. Nearly 60% of brand respondents to Digiday’s survey said they spend a large or very large portion of their marketing budgets on Google. Meanwhile, just shy of 70% of brand pros said they are confident or very confident that Google drives marketing success for their businesses, putting the difference between the two at just 10 percentage points.

Digiday’s survey revealed a different story when it comes to agencies. While nearly three-quarters (72%) of agency respondents said they are confident or very confident that Google drives marketing success for their clients, only 44% of agency pros said a large or very large portion of their clients’ marketing budgets goes toward the channel.

This discrepancy of 28 percentage points among agency respondents is a significant one. But why is there such a difference between how brands allocate their marketing budgets and how agencies allocate budgets on their clients’ behalf? It’s possible that part of the agency advantage is that they help brands diversify their marketing spend more effectively than brands are able to do it on their own. But it’s also possible that agencies overestimate the impact other channels like social and TV have on making actual sales.

Either way, Google’s dominance in the marketing big picture holds strong.


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