Digital advertising continues to increase as a percentage of total marketing  and the latest study released by Forbes shows that this form of media now accounts for well over 25% of spending. Exactly how are1097861_digital_world1 companies breaking out their online ad spend? As I’ve reported previously on this blog, search continues to be the leading online marketing tool but companies use other forms for specific reasons as detailed by the findings of this study.

First, a look at the top-line data shows how online spending breaks out for the surveyed companies:

  • Search 34%
  • Online publications 26%
  • Portals 22%
  • Ad networks 17%
  • Other 13%

These companies also note the following top 3 outcomes as being most important when they spend money on online marketing:

  • Conversions/sales
  • Registrations/ subscriptions to their Web sites
  • Click-throughs

When it comes to specific forms of online marketing, 93% of executives say that search meets or exceeds expectations while viral marketing measures up only 60% of the time.

If viral marketing meets expectations at a lower rate than search, why does it come out as the top online ad form projected to gain more of the budget in the next 6 months? The numbers indicate that viral marketing is seen as an important brand influencer by 25% of respondents. This situation suggests that marketers may be using their online ad budgets to sway brand perception between now and the end of the year.

Read the rest of this study to learn how small companies differ from larger firms when it comes to online ad spending.

[Source: Online Ad Effectiveness Study, Forbes, 2009]