Your 2023 Marketing Budget Rundown. Where Is Your Money Best Spent (Even in an Uncertain Economy)?

digital marketing

As fellow marketers, we understand how much pressure you’re under to see an ROI that justifies your budget and encourages your CFO, accounting department, or finance team to increase it. Or, if you’re a business owner yourself, we understand the desire to see results and grow your business in 2023. Either way, that’s why we’re here to help you get the best ROI out of the remainder of your 2023 marketing budget, with data-driven ways to spend your money for the next half of the year (even in an uncertain economy). 

What Does the Data Say?

One of the greatest things about digital marketing is its ability to be directly analyzed in real-time. What does the data actually say? What are the numbers telling us? At Uptick Marketing, one thing we always let our clients know upfront is that we won’t try to sell you services that don’t work to your benefit. To avoid wasting money, our decisions are experience and data-driven. With the onset of GA4, we’ll be able to get an even better picture of your online footprint and potentially, especially when paired alongside your personalized marketing reports.

Digital Advertising Is Here to Stay

One thing we’re confident of is that digital advertising isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. According to Insider Intelligence, a market research company, digital ad spend is only expected to keep growing, reaching a worldwide spend of >$876 billion by 2026. This is a 28% increase from the projected 2023 spend of $681 billion.

But if projections are of little interest to you, you might consider this: a study recently completed by 8,023 marketers around the world offering their takes on budget and spend. According to this study, 77% of B2C marketers and 79% of B2B marketers are maintaining or increasing their marketing budgets for 2023. But what exactly are they spending their budgets on? Let’s take a look.

How Are Marketers Spending Their 2023 Marketing Budget?

There are many avenues to choose from when deciding how to spend your 2023 marketing budget, but not all will be useful to you. In fact—unless you’re a brand with worldwide recognition—there are few companies who would benefit from participating in all forms of digital marketing. However, there are a few fundamentals every business needs to be successful online, including a landing page or landing pages, your website (and basic SEO), your local GBP (Google Business Profile) listing, and high-quality videos. Small caveat: that’s just the starting place; you’ll need more than that to be (and stay) effective online, but these are must-haves.

The truth is, digital marketing can be complicated, but working with a digital advertising agency (like ours) can save you a lot of time, guesswork, headaches, and money. We offer digital marketing services for all of the areas outlined below and can make knowledgeable recommendations on what would work best for your business and goals based on our factfinder meeting and initial consultation.

Digital advertising is an ever-evolving sphere, which is part of what makes it so exciting! Popular methods and strategies that worked best for your business and had a good ROI last year, or even last month, can change and be a waste of time and money now. Data shows digital marketers are investing more in these categories for 2023: SEO, content creation, AI, and email.

SEO: Buzzword or Blueprint for Doing Better Business Online?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the digital advertising buzzword that gets talked about a lot. However, often when you dig deeper, not everyone who discusses it actually knows what it is and how to properly see it through for best results. Fortunately, Uptick has SEO knowledge and tactics in spades. Search engine optimization helps your business get found and chosen in search results. A professional SEO strategy can deliver real value to your business by getting users to choose you over the competition.

In a recent study, a whopping 68% of marketers said they were increasing their SEO budget because it delivers a higher return than paid advertising. It’s worth pointing out that SEO is a long game, meaning you shouldn’t expect to see results right away. For an established, steady business that’s doing well, ongoing and local SEO can (over time) produce compelling results in the form of quality leads and conversions. Think of ongoing and local SEO like diet and exercise in daily life—these things should never stop being done if you want to keep seeing results. Sometimes you have to adjust, change, or pivot strategies as things change, but SEO doesn’t have a stopping point.

Content Creation: Is More Always Better?

While it is true that you should be regularly producing content for your website (and social media), Google judges the quality of content you’re putting out. This is why it’s important to have a strategy or monthly plan that outlines your goal, who you’re talking to, production frequency, performance review, and more. Google prioritizes and ranks content based on the following criteria:

  • Has a user-first focus
  • Is helpful and people-first
  • Created for people and helps them answer search queries
  • Trustworthiness
  • Originality
  • Relevancy
  • Well-produced and mobile-friendly

So content for the sake of content isn’t the goal. This is where having a content pillar framework that supports your subject matter comes into play. Creating and connecting main pillar pages, sub-pillar pages, and supporting content pages that group and organize your topics so your messaging is clear and digestible helps search engines like Google more easily crawl your website and give you a higher ranking in SERPs.

It helps to think of a content pillar like a spider web with the main pillar that’s tied to a short-tailed keyword in the center. It then branches out to long-tailed keyword sub-pillars, or cluster content, that elaborate on your main topics. And, finally, those sub-pillars can become even more detailed with supporting pages, like a landing page or short-form blog, which fan out to the edges. These supporting pages are tied to specific, long-tail question keywords.

Because everything is connected and one topic builds upon the next, you’ll be able to internally link to other pages that contain relevant content, creating a more organized structure that will also win your website more points with Google.

Content creation is huge right now, thanks, in part, to the rise of social media. The number of ways one piece of content can be repurposed and repeatedly utilized makes it worth the investment. Because a blog isn’t simply a blog anymore. It can be cut down into a carousel for Instagram, made into an attention-grabbing TikTok, and recorded for a podcast.

AI: Is Everyone Using It?

AI is the topic of many recent conversations. And while everyone can agree it is world-changing, whether that be for the betterment or detriment of humanity is still a matter of hot debate. Data shows marketers believe that AI is here to help make our advertising efforts easier and more productive, with 98% planning to leverage it in 2023 in some way.

Despite being relatively new, there are already numerous AI products and applications that support content creation with a wide range of pricing options. In fact, there are tools for SEO, blogging, graphic design, data analytics, and more. If you’re interested in delving deeper into AI and its effect online, feel free to peruse our AI-focused blog to learn more.

Email: Old Faithful

In 2023, many professionals don’t remember a time before email (or the internet). However, since email marketing came onto the scene in 1978, it’s been holding steady in the digital marketing space. With the number of benefits compared to price, the art of automated emails has been almost perfected. It’s reusable, saves time, maximizes resources, saves money, and more.

Don’t underestimate the power of a thoughtfully executed email drip campaign. Whether your goal is to increase sales, re-engage customers, regularly communicate, or nurture leads, email marketing can help you accomplish all of these by “touching” or interacting with your audience and providing valuable information they care about. The more valuable the information, the more likely they are to make the desired action you’re looking for—read a blog, download an eBook, make a purchase, and more. All of this helps feed into your long-term strategic goals by helping you get the most out of relevant KPIs.

And there are a lot of high-quality automated email marketing products out there, so you can pick one that does what you need without breaking the bank.

Where Are Marketers Spending Less Money?

Traditional Marketing

We recently did a blog about why traditional marketing methods probably won’t work for some businesses, and it appears marketers around the world have come to a similar conclusion. Across the board, advertisers are decreasing their spend on television, radio, print, and billboards. The main reason marketers gave for cutting spending in these categories was how difficult it is to track ROI across these platforms.

When you factor in how expensive traditional marketing is compared to digital marketing, the bill quickly adds up, especially for small businesses. Here’s a quick rundown of average costs for traditional marketing:

  • Physical billboard costs vary depending on the location, ranging from $750–$14,000+ a month. Digital billboards are relatively cheaper but still range from the high hundreds to thousands of dollars per month.
  • Radio advertising pricing ranges from $200–$5,000 per week and is influenced by location, station size, audience, and ad length.
  • Professional flyer and brochure copywriting services range in cost from $200–$500, depending on factors such as quantity, paper type, turnaround time, ink, and size.
  • Direct mail costs can vary significantly, ranging from $0.30 per piece to over $10, depending on the amount spent on direct mail lists, as well as expenses for copywriting, design, printing, and distribution.

S&P predicts that digital advertising could capture 75% of total U.S. advertising by 2025. The report also forecasts a decline in advertising spend for traditional mediums like cable, broadcast TV, and radio, as much as 10% for some. However, outdoor advertising, digital billboards in particular, may retain a competitive advantage due to the ability to schedule dynamic ads quickly.

Social Media Ads

Surprisingly, social media ads took a hit in this survey. This is mostly attributed to the changes in Apple iOS privacy, which threw a major curveball to many businesses’ social media advertising strategies. Many marketers said these changes made it challenging to get the same return as they used to on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, and Snapchat. For TikTok (84%) and LinkedIn (57%), however, marketers reported an increased budget. 

Still, for the price, social media ads are quite effective in creating brand awareness and getting your business in front of the right audience, which is why they’re still on our list of service recommendations for every business. They’re also an especially worthwhile use of your budget for introducing a new product and separating yourself from the competition.

Get Help with Your 2023 Marketing Budget from Uptick Marketing

If all of this sounds like too much for you to take on on your own, we want to hear from you. We understand how overwhelming it can be to decide on the best marketing and financial tactics for your business, especially during the uncertain state of the economy. We highly recommend sticking with SEO and marketing in general as it’s a prime opportunity to rank higher on SERPs and win in online spaces. The worst thing you can do is to quit digital marketing cold turkey; it will kill the momentum of your campaigns and cause leads to slow down or dry up completely. Rather, you’ll want to adjust, refine, and optimize strategies.

We love creating success stories by listening to you, learning about your business and goals, and tailoring digital marketing and advertising strategies that deliver growth. Let’s talk today.

About Jerry

Jerry (a.k.a. ‘ol’ Presentation Eyes’) is a founding partner at Uptick and our Vice President of Business Development. Jerry has 20+ years of digital marketing experience and has worked extensively with several local businesses, from dental practices to retail stores. Over his career, Jerry has worked with businesses, big and small, including brands like Target, Wells Fargo, and Coca-Cola United. He has also been engaged in several speaking events, presenting at the American Marketing Association, American Advertising Federation, and for chamber of commerces across Alabama.

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