According to JPMorgan Chase, 65% of middle-sized businesses and 61% of small businesses expect a recession in 2023. What’s more, in a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal, 61% of economists think we’re heading toward an economic downturn.
A lot of signs are pointing that way. The unhinged inflation, the energy crisis in Europe, and the political turmoil aren’t helping forecasters look at the full part of the glass – au contraire, they’re fuel for a smoldering fire. Some call it a slowcession or a richcession, and the most pessimistic ones are warning about a deflationary depression to rule all that came before it.
To top it off, news the wildfire-like spread of AI complement what seems like a doom-and-gloom scenario worthy of our worst nightmares.
The operative word here is “seems.” Sure, there is a lot of uncertainty hovering over our heads. And yes, it might feel like the horns have been blown on a year that will change everything we know about advertising. But when we asked 200 advertisers what they thought about advertising in 2023, we breathed a sigh of relief – people are far more optimistic about the prospects for this year than news headlines would have you believe.
Here’s what our survey revealed.
Download the full report here:
Our research was conducted by Censuswide, with 200 respondents over the age of 18, with the following job titles:
- Head of PPC
- Lead PPC Specialist
- Digital Marketing Specialist
- Sr. Paid Marketing Specialist
- Digital Campaign Lead
- Sr. Paid Search & Display Manager
- Digital Advertising Manager
- Media Buyer
- Performance Media Manager
The advertisers we surveyed came from companies with at least 20 employees, in a variety of industries:
Our respondents are based in the U.S., and the survey was run between February 15 and February 28, 2023. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.
2022 Revenue Hasn’t Dropped
Of all 200 respondents that answered our questionnaire, 60.5% said they have seen an increase in revenue in 2022, in the companies they work with/ for. Moreover, 31% said the 2022 revenue was linear, and only 8.5% of these respondents saw a decrease.
Most Advertisers Are Optimistic about Their Ad Budget
Despite news of recession and AI, most advertisers we surveyed are optimistic about their ad budgets. More specifically, 68.5% of respondents feel good about their budgets. Moreover, only 18.5% of respondents felt “neutral” about their 2023 ad budgets, and even fewer (13%) said they were pessimistic.
Interestingly, a larger share of the respondents working in agencies showed themselves more optimistic than those working in-house/ for a brand (but not by a lot, with 71.88% of agency advertisers saying they’re optimistic and 66.91% of the in-house ones confirming the same idea.)
Ad Budgets Are Growing
There might be a reason many advertisers feel optimistic about their 2023 budgets. Despite the economic downturn and all the heralding around it, more than two-thirds of our respondents (70.5%) said they got more budget in 2023. In most cases, the budgets didn’t see a large increase (less than 10%), but it seems to be enough to give everyone hope.
What’s more, 25.5% of the advertisers who replied to our survey said they’ve received a budget increase between 10% and 40%. Only a total of 13% saw a decrease in their ad budget (but never for more than 40%.)
In-house and agency advertisers had similar outlooks on ad budgets. Most of our respondents in both in-house positions (43.38%) and agency roles (46.88%) noticed an increase of up to 10% in their budgets. Moreover, similar percentages of in-house advertisers (25%) and agency advertisers (26.56%) said they received a budget increase of 10 to 40%.
This finding is in line with previous findings by Magna and GroupM, which forecasted that advertising budgets will increase in 2023, but not by as much as it was initially thought (with an average lying at around 5%.)
Advertisers Want to Experiment with New Platforms
Another sign that the ad industry is doing well is that a very large percentage of respondents are more than open to trying out new platforms this year. A very optimistic 69% of advertisers said they’ll try new channels in 2023, 28% said they won’t, and only 3% of all respondents said they’ll drop the number of channels.
According to our survey, people working in agencies were happier to experiment with new ad platforms (73.44% of them said so), but in-house advertisers weren’t particularly reticent either (66.91% of them said they’ll try out new ad platforms this year.)
Most Companies Will Invest in Bottom-of-the-Funnel Ads
In our survey, 28% of the respondents said they are more likely to invest in conversion-oriented, bottom-of-the-funnel ads. However, traffic (middle-of-the-funnel) campaigns came in closely at 26%, and awareness (top-of-the-funnel) ads scored 23.5%. Almost a quarter (22%) of our respondents said they’ll distribute their budgets equally among the different stages of the buyer’s journey.
“In 2023, we plan on investing our advertising budgets in at least six platforms. Out of these platforms, Google Ads takes the biggest slice of the pie, with 62.30% of our advertising budget being directed here. In second place, we have DV360 with 14.20% of the spend, closely followed by AdRoll with 12.50%. The rest of 11% is split between Facebook, Microsoft and Capterra, exactly in this order.”
— Diana-Alina Aldea, PPC Team Lead at Creatopy
Almost Half of Advertisers Will Use AI for Scripts and Copy
We had to ask the question on everyone’s lips: how are advertisers planning to use AI technology in their day-to-day work? The answers were not shocking: almost half of our respondents (48%) want to use AI for scripts and copy. What’s more, a large chunk of advertisers have shown interest in using AI for ad creatives (44.5%), and 44% said they’d use AI to build strategies as well. Whichever way you look at it, most of the advertisers are ready to leverage the power of AI to free time on their hands, give their budgets a bit of leeway, and “do more with less.”
Of all our respondents, in-house advertisers showed slightly more interest in AI for scripts and copy (49.26%, respectively 48.53% of them said they’ll integrate AI tech in this area of their work.) However, agency respondents didn’t fall far behind, with 45.31%, respectively 46.88% confirming the same interests.
The Biggest Trends in Advertising in 2023?
According to our survey, more than half of advertisers (50.5%) think more automation tools will grow in popularity in the advertising space (as a result of the reduction in workforce.) Interestingly, 42.5% of our respondents also thought the market will start to go through a sifting process, leaving it with fewer inexperienced advertisers.
Despite the overall optimism, 34% of advertisers also believed they’ll see less results for the same ad spend (as compared to 2022.). And while budget cuts didn’t seem to affect most of our respondents, more than one-third (39.5%) of them did believe budget concerns will make the market a less competitive place.
In this area, more in-house advertising pros were more inclined to believe they’ll see less competition because of the budget reductions (41.91%.), while a more conservative 34.38% of agency advertisers believed the same thing.
The Most Popular Platforms Are… [Drumroll]
We wanted to see which advertising platforms are gaining traction and popularity with advertisers in 2023. So we asked our respondents to rate some of the most popular channels with one of the following attributes:
- Have historically used and are currently using
- Would like to use in the future
- Have never used and have no plans to use
The channels we included in this question were:
According to our findings, a total of 74,5% of our respondents said they had used and/or currently using Google Ads, showing that, despite the growing interest in other platforms, Google remains an unchallenged king of the digital advertising space.
Spotify ranked as the second-most popular ad platform with 73.5% of respondents marking it among the options they’ve used in the past and/or are currently using. Microsoft came in next, with 72% of our survey takers marking it among the platforms they’ve used and/or are using.
The other platforms ranked in the following order:
- LinkedIn (71.00%)
- Meta (69.5%)
- Twitter (69.5%)
- Pinterest 68.50%
- Capterra (68.00%)
- Quora (66.50%)
- Snapchat (66.50%)
- Programmatic (66.00%)
- TikTok (65.00%)
- Reddit 65.00%
As for what advertisers are interested in trying in the future, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Pinterest took the podium.
“2023 is the year to mix things up, get creative, and make the most of AI tools. Ad creative is your secret weapon in a sea of digital clutter, while AI can help you work smarter, not harder. And don’t forget to try out new platforms and formats – it’s time to experiment! Wink-wink Pinterest. Here at Creatopy, we believe in these three pillars of success: creativity, innovation, and strategic experimentation. So let’s make 2023 the year of daring ideas and epic campaigns. Are you in?”
— Laura Trif, Digital Media Manager at Creatopy
And here are the platforms advertisers have never tried out (and don’t plan on trying either:)
And The Most Popular Types of Ads Are…
Using a similar approach as we did with the different ad platforms mentioned above, we wanted to see which types of ads won our respondents’ attention and budgets this year. This time, we were not that surprised, as Display took the first place, followed by Social, Video, and Search ads (in that specific order.)
Advertisers are fearless. While their budgets may not be as high as they should, most of the people who agreed to answer our questions are quite optimistic about the 2023 outlook. Yes, many will leverage AI technology. And yes, some are making shifts. But overall, things aren’t looking gloomy in the ad space.
Expectations, hopes, and forecasts can’t replace reality though – so only the future can tell what’s around the corner for us all.
Want to read the full report? Download it below.