Footing The Bill: Advertisers Are Spending More This Year

Publishers nervous about what advertisers are  planning should be heartened by some of the findings in Digital Advertising Trends in 2023, a study released Tuesday by, working with Insights Worldwide Business Research. 

Of the brands polled, 60% say they will invest more in digital advertising tools and technology in 2023. And 49% will spend on programmatic advertising in general.

That means there’s money on the table: 41% of the respondents are spending $5 million to $10 million on digital advertising this year, and 27% will budget from $10 million to $20 million. In addition, 22% will spend more than $20 million.

But there are numerous pain points for digital advertisers that publishers should be aware of, including:

  • Macroeconomic factors—50%
  • Increased competition—49%
  • Maximizing efficiency & ROI—48%
  • Producing enough creative—48%
  • Measurement and attribution—47%
  • Managing a growing number of channels and platforms—38%
  • Privacy/targeting changes—37%
  • Securing sufficient budget—35%
  • Ensuring we have the right tools in place to execute our strategies successfully—29%
  • Lack of talent/the need to expand teams through hiring—11%



Of the companies polled, 37% spend 26% to 49% of their marketing budgets on social media advertising, and 9% budget 50%. 

The respondents are spending the most on these single platforms:

  • Google Ads—27%
  • Instagram—24%
  • Facebook—17%
  • YouTube—14%
  • Connected TV (CTV)—6%
  • Tik Tok—5%
  • Digital Out-Of-Home (DOOH)—3%
  • Snapchat—2%
  • LinkedIn—1%
  • Twitter—1%

The big increases will go to:

  • YouTube—79%
  • Google Ads—66%
  • Tik-Tok—52%
  • Instagram—75%
  • Facebook—64%

Note: only 51% are buying ads on Twitter, versus 71% last year. 

Meanwhile, 68% say their digital ad creation involves time-consuming manual processes, and 74% say the same about their campaign delivery. 

However, most use automation. Technology to at least some degree. They say:

  • Yes—we automate campaign creation and optimization sufficiently and successfully—31%
  • Yes—We automate at least part of this process, but it needs improvement—55%
  • No—but we are interested in automating at least part of this process—14%

As for creative, digital advertisers plan to increase their usage of these virtual assets:

  • Motion creative (e.g., animations, videos, reels)—33%
  • Static creative (e.g., photos, images)—24%
  • Innovative creative (e.g., 3D/AR/Lens, Dall-e)—24%
  • Creator content/influencer content—14%
  • Neither//this does not apply—5%

When it comes to best practices, 52% always conduct formal testing as part of the creative process. But 42% do it only sometimes and 6% do so rarely.  

But advertisers face these challenges (respondents were asked to list their top three):

  • Personalizing create and making sure each variation adheres to each platform—38%
  • Time for creativity and finding new ideas—38%
  • Creating assets based on historical performance data—33%
  • Receiving data on creative performance—32%
  • The review and approval process happening in many different places—32%
  • Testing creative concepts and variations—31%
  • Sourcing assets to produce the ads (UGC, stock image, sounds, etc.)—27%
  • Number of assets needed and the manual work involved—23%
  • Ad rejected by the platforms and time to fix the assets—21%
  • Finding the best practices for each channel or platform—16%
  • Ensuring I’m following guidelines on each asset—9%

The WBR Insights research team surveyed 100 respondents from the U.S. and Canada, all at the director or above, including the C-suite.

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