21/03/11

By Claire West

Affiliate network, LinkShare has released results of industry research surveying marketing professionals on their expectations for the year ahead.

According to the results, investment in mobile platforms is expected to rise and the media sector is set to experience the biggest growth. While many are still assessing the impact of the recent VAT rise, ROI and measurement continue to be major focus areas for general marketing activity.

Mobile investment on the rise

Marketers are starting to pay more attention to mobile platforms with just under half (45%) of respondents indicating mobile marketing and apps are a major growth area in 2011. In a sign of the ongoing strength of the online advertising sector, a third are planning to continue investments in affiliate marketing (33%) followed closely by investments in ads on personal social networks (31%); online video advertising (30%) and sponsored search engine links (30%).

Media sector set to enjoy growth

The media sector is expected to experience the biggest growth according to a third (35%) of those surveyed. Other areas expected to grow include entertainment (29%) and electronics (24%), in contrast to news (9%), retail (7%) and travel (4%) which were identified as sectors set to experience the smallest growth.

Measurement and ROI remains a key focus

Measurement and ROI continue to be major themes for marketing activity in 2011 with 59 per cent of marketers indicating this is a key area of focus. A further 57 per cent will be paying increased attention to delivering targeted campaigns as opposed to traditional mass marketing techniques. For a third (33%) budget cuts are expected to limit company marketing activities and as a result a fifth (22%) believe companies will need to become more efficient as a result of these cuts.


Impact of VAT uncertain

Following the recent VAT increase, the research also drills down into marketers’ perspectives on what impact the rise is having on consumer behaviour. The results are mixed and while 38 per cent felt consumer purchasing habits were unaffected, a quarter (25%) felt the VAT rise has had a very significant impact on behaviours, followed by a further 24 per cent who had noticed a minor change but one not as dramatic as the recession.

Liane Dietrich, MD LinkShare UK, comments: “The research paints a very positive picture for the marketing industry in 2011. The marketing sector is on the cusp of entering a new phase of growth with mobile marketing and investment in apps set to lead the way.

“It’s also encouraging to see that targeting, measurement and ROI continue to be strong themes amongst UK marketers and certainly echoes sentiments from the conversations we are having with our own customers. We are also pleased to hear that affiliate marketing is becoming a core part of many digital marketing initiatives and we are now focussed on helping to educate our client base on how more advanced affiliate marketing techniques can be used to help boost customer acquisition and improve the bottom line of a business in light of these trends.”