A recent survey of advertising agencies, conducted by STRATA, found that 62% of agencies polled said they see business increasing this quarter compared to the same time last year, the highest level ever recorded in the history of the STRATA survey. 53% projected future growth to be better in the first half of 2014 as compared to the last half of 2013, while 29% are increasing their ad budgets from last year, representing the highest level recorded by STRATA since 2008. 32% of agencies said they plan on hiring staff this year, while only 3% plan on reducing staff.
The survey found that a majority of advertisers doubt the legitimacy of Web traffic flowing to online advertisements. 56% of the agencies polled said they do not trust the Web traffic numbers and analysis provided by publishers with whom they advertise. When asked if they agree with an earlier report released by the IAB that found that 36% of Web traffic is fraudulent, 31% of agencies responded that they felt the figure was actually higher than the IAB reported, and an additional 43% answered that the IAB’s assessment was accurate. When asked about programmatic buying, 58% are still undecided on whether they trust those systems to accurately execute their ad orders. Respondents also question the ROI of social media and online video advertising.
Joy Baer, president at STRATA, says “… ad agencies revealed an interesting dichotomy… agencies are displaying high levels of confidence… and increasing their ad spend… while they question the accuracy of reported Web traffic numbers and the inflated CPMs they may command… “
For only the second time in history of the survey, advertising costs appeared in the top two leading concerns for ad agencies. 21% percent of agencies chose ad costs as their top concern, second only to client attraction at 37%. Client spend came in at third (16%), trailed closely by media mix concerns (15%).
Other key findings from the study:
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