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One in two marketers expect online marketing to grow in 2024

● Social media and search engine marketing will be allocated the lion’s share of budgets ● AI, sustainability, and social commerce will dominate this year
January 31, 2024

Will online marketing continue to drive growth in the advertising world in 2024, or is the general mood shifting in light of the various recent crises? A study recently conducted by Civey on behalf of DMEXCO reveals that opinions differ among German marketing and advertising departments, but a clear trend is emerging. Almost half (46 percent) of the 350 decision-makers surveyed forecast growth in the online advertising market, albeit to varying degrees. 34 percent expect slight growth of up to 5 percent. Around 6 percent of the respondents predict growth of up to 10 percent, and a further 6 percent even expect market growth to exceed that.

However, some of those surveyed were more skeptical, with one in five predicting a stagnation, around one in four expecting online advertising revenue to fall, and 5 percent even anticipating a severe recession of more than 10 percent in the industry. One in ten are currently unable to gauge the situation.

Thomas Mosch, DMEXCO Conference Director: “With this exclusive Civey survey, DMEXCO delivers a well-informed indicator of how markets will develop in 2024 – at the same time, it gives us valuable inspiration for DMEXCO 2024. The results show how varied the mood and expectations are in the market. However, the majority are optimistic about the new year and trust that advertisers will be more willing to invest in online marketing.”

Around half of the experts surveyed mainly expect budgets to increase for social media (52.9 percent) and search engine marketing (46.5 percent). About a fifth of the respondents regard influencer marketing as the strongest-growing segment. Especially for the 30–39 age group, collaborating with influencers is playing an increasingly important role, with 26 percent saying they would invest more in this channel. In terms of gender distribution, one figure stands out: 31 percent of the female experts surveyed would consider investing more in influencer marketing, compared to only 9 percent of the male respondents.

AI is by far still the top trend, followed by sustainability and social responsibility

Artificial intelligence will continue to be the top trend in digital marketing this year. Sustainability and social responsibility are in second place, with social commerce ranking third. There is a noticeable difference in how the topic of mixed reality is perceived across the age groups surveyed. 62 percent of those aged 18 to 29 feel that VR, AR, and other mixed reality applications are highly relevant in online marketing. That value is significantly higher than the average across all age groups (11.3 percent).

Carsten Rasner, managing director of the German Association for the Digital Economy (BVDW) comments: “Artificial intelligence and sustainability are two megatrends that will shape not only our industry but society as a whole in 2024. AI is about business models, potential applications along the value chain and how we can take people with us in this transformation. Sustainability is increasingly becoming a hard currency this year and is gaining a stronger foothold in the digital economy. We will help shape both developments in the BVDW and at DMEXCO.”

Thomas Mosch, DMEXCO Conference Director adds: “Compared to previous surveys, the 2024 study shows a more heterogeneous mood in the industry, but fortunately optimism prevails. Effective marketing is crucial for navigating dynamic markets. Last year, we were more likely to confirm the suitability of artificial intelligence for everyday use in marketing. At DMEXCO 2024, we will see many concrete projects that demonstrate how productive and disruptive AI can actually be.”

About the survey

Commissioned by DMEXCO, the market research company Civey surveyed a total of 350 marketing and advertising professionals in an online format between November 23, 2023, and January 2, 2024.

You can take a deeper dive into the results in our whitepaper.

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