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I Read Nielsen’s 2023 Marketing Report So You Don’t Have To

I Read Nielsen’s 2023 Marketing Report So You Don’t Have To

Last Updated:  
March 18, 2024

I read Nielsen’s 2023 Annual Marketing Report so you don’t have to. It’s 23 pages of delicious data. Here’s the TLDR, and what it might mean for you.

1) Despite economic headwinds, advertisers are still spending — if not more.

According to Nielsen’s survey data, advertisers aren’t letting economic shifts get the best of them. 64% of marketers surveyed said they expect their annual marketing budgets to increase this year, compared to 2022.

Source: Nielsen's 2023 Annual Marketing Report

What this means: It’s important to take this with a grain of salt. Advertising costs have increased, which is likely driving many brands to pay more to acquire new customers. While it’s tempting to pull back ad spend in the face of doomsday economic clouds, consider the impact this will have if your brand sits in a particularly crowded market. If you don’t feel confident in ramping up spend right now, it’s critical to look at your marketing mix and figure out where you can spend most efficiently.

2) Streaming Advertising is Blowing Up

It appears that streaming advertising/CTV is the new rage in 2022–2023. 84% of marketers surveyed said they invest in streaming ads within their master marketing mix. Additionally, 56% of advertisers surveyed said they planned to shift 50–80% of their advertising budget to connected TV in 2023.

Source: Nielsen's 2023 Annual Marketing Report

Despite the increased spend on this format, advertisers seem unconvinced of the efficacy. Less than 50% of marketers surveyed expressed confidence in the effectiveness of streaming ads, with many noting that it’s more of a brand awareness play.

Additional interesting factoid: according to Nielsen, Americans watched 19 million years worth of streaming content in 2022.

What this means: If you’re hitting a plateau on your existing ad channels and looking to test something new, it might be worth giving CTV a try. (Just know that directly attributing sales back to your channel investment is easier said than done).While major cable providers like AT&T are losing customers by the millions, new & existing streaming platforms continue to gain subscribers. eMarketer estimates that by the end of 2021, approximately 95 million Americans will no longer have access to traditional cable, instead opting for streaming. Brands that have both a digital and a retail presence are most likely to benefit from this investment.

3) In Terms of ROI, The Classic Channels Are Still Winning

Nielsen’s survey highlighted that marketers find search, display, and social advertisements the most impactful when it comes to ROI. Voted least impactful were podcasts and streaming audio ad placements — not particularly surprising.

Source: Nielsen's 2023 Annual Marketing Report

What this means: As much as Meta is driving me bonkers too, it’s not going away. Paid social remains king, with search and display close behind. I do find that many DTC brands neglect display advertising — this is something to consider if you haven’t yet dabbled.

4) Acquisition is the Majority’s #1 Priority

Lastly, the Nielsen survey asked respondents to order their 2023 marketing objectives in order of highest to lowest priority. The results:

  • #1  - Customer Acquisition
  • #2 - Brand Awareness
  • #3 - Customer Retention
  • #4 - Customer Advocacy
  • #5 - Competitor Questing
  • #6 - Churn Reduction

What this means: In an acquisition-hungry market, brands that genuinely invest in customer retention & advocacy will notably stand out from the competition. It also appears that roasting the competition is of lower priority this year — so if you’re looking for a moment to get fiesty, this might be your moment.

Bringing It All Together

So, what can we learn from all these glorious numbers?

  • Advertisers are still spending. The world isn’t ending.
  • Streaming TV is intriguing advertisers. It has potential, but they’re not sold yet.
  • Though we’re a few years out from the great iOS14.5 shakeup, advertisers are still questioning their confidence in particular formats/channels.
  • It’s a great year to focus on customer retention.

Are you a DTC brand looking to scale in 2023? Try Triple Whale to access and leverage key data to transform your marketing strategy.

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