Fourth wave of Matrix study shows how significant digital is in advertising investments in Belgium

According to the 4th Matrix study carried out by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Belgian advertisers allocate nearly a third of their advertising budgets to digital communication channels. What’s more, 41% are active on digital media on a continuous basis.

The digital media landscape is in a perpetual state of flux. Every day brings a new technology, a new economic model or an innovative new player. In this exciting ever-changing environment, fleeting fashions run side by side with fundamental trends, which can confuse the issue for advertisers and communication agencies alike.

That’s why, in 2014, the IAB launched a study called “Matrix”, with the aim of getting a feel for three key parameters on the advertising market: the performance indicators used most by advertisers, the amount of investments in digital marketing and the buzzwords in fashion among those working in the sector.

The main conclusion of the fourth wave is that digital accounts for 30.4% of investments in digital marketing in Belgium. “This figure has been confirmed since we began the Matrix study,” emphasises Luc Eeckhout of Phimedia. “The stability of this result is particularly remarkable since the panel of advertisers and decision-makers interviewed for the study hasn’t stopped growing with each new study: we’ve gone from 121 to 536 in two years. Digital is now an integral part of advertising budgets.”

As far as advertising formats are concerned, graphic banners, search engine marketing, “native advertising” (sponsored editorial content) and on-line video take the lion’s share in the choice of channels made by the decision-makers, whether advertisers or media agencies. Social media, for their part, attract nearly 14% of investments in digital.

Another interesting fact is that, although 31% of campaigns now use the “programmatic buying” method (automated purchases of advertising space on the Net), only one in two advertisers knows precisely what that technology consists of.

41% of advertisers active on the Net on a continuous basis

Moreover, 85.1% of respondents use digital media to generate traffic to their site, while 83.4% also say they use them to build brand awareness. “This result is very significant because it shows that digital is no longer used only for short-term objectives, such as increasing traffic on a site,” explains Luc Eeckhout.

In addition, 41% of the advertisers and decision-makers asked adopt an “always on” approach, with the aim of being active on a continuous basis on the digital media depending on their objectives (brand awareness, increasing visitors to a site, generating traffic in points of sale, etc.).

However, six out of ten respondents say they find it difficult to measure the returns on their investments in digital.

“This result produced by the study gives the sector food for thought,” emphasises Luc Eeckhout. “Although an enormous amount of work has been done to win over advertisers in the last few years, the professionals have to continue teaching them about digital and about the measuring tools available to advertisers in order to make digital as easy to understand as the well-established media such as television and radio. Whatever investment players in the digital market make is matched by the potential for growth: this new instalment of the Matrix study shows that 83% of respondents expect the budgets earmarked for digital to continue growing in the years ahead.”

The Matrix study was carried out by the Phimedia company in collaboration with iVox on a panel of some 536 decision-makers.

>>> Download here the IAB Matrix wave 4 infographic <<<

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