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This is how brands are planning for their digital marketing budgets in 2022

Call me a cynic, but when I see that brands are making zero investments in marketing analytics, I get frustrated. According to this report from HubSpot, digital marketing budgets will fall into these four key buckets:

  • Paid Media 27%

  • Software 26%

  • Content Creation 26%

  • Headcount 17%

Based on these results, a few things could be at play here. When marketers are talking about software investments, it could be that they are making an investment in analytics software for audience analysis, social listening, automation, email marketing, etc.

It could be that the 17% headcount investment will be for hiring an analytics team or analyst. It’s possible. Or, maybe HubSpot just forgot to add analytics as a potential answer in their survey.

It’s most likely to be a combination of all three, so I’ll go back to being frustrated.

What disappoints me the most about this report is that using data to inform marketing decisions isn’t that difficult. The problem is that many marketers don’t know where to start. The idea of “big data” is overwhelming and can be a deterrent to fully embracing data driven marketing.

In the recent CMO Survey Report from August 2021, brands continue to make digital marketing investments and include:

  • Optimization of company website 77%

  • Digital media and search 69%

  • Data analytics 65%

  • Direct digital marketing 63%

  • Marketing technology 61%

This data is saying that 77% of companies have made financial investments in optimizing their website, 69% are investing in digital media and paid search, 61% are investing in their martech stack, and so on.

This report also segments the data by sector and vertical. For example, the top investor in data analytics is what they refer to as B2C (or consumer) product (84.6%), and the top vertical is consumer services (100%). An example of a B2C product could be a sneaker manufacturer like New Balance, and an example of consumer services could be an airline like Southwest.

Later in the report, digital marketing budgets are broken out by task or function. The top six budget allocations are as follows:

  • Direct expenses of marketing activities (95.7%)

  • Social media marketing (92.9%)

  • Brand-related expenses (81.0%)

  • Marketing employees (80.4%)

  • Marketing analytics (73.4%)

  • Marketing research (71.7%)

This data is a lot less frustrating.

One last data point that I found interesting is that marketers feel increased pressure to prove the value of marketing to their C-suite, specifically to the CEO (58%).

This tells me a few things.

Marketers need to continue to invest in data. Those marketers that aren’t investing need to start. Data needs to be a priority. And the only way to prove the value of marketing is with data.