Where Should Marketers Be Spending Their Budget In 2019?

2019 is upon us and for marketers it brings the yearly question: how are you spending your budget this year? Marketing budgets are increasing, and more money is being spent on digital than ever before. But the big question is, where should you spend your marketing budget? We recently gave you a sneak peek into our 2019 marketing predictions  so now let’s look at your marketing budget.

where should marketers be spending their budget in 2019

Before we dive in, let’s look at the stats:

·     In 2018, the average company allocated 42% of their budget to online marketing and this rate is expected to grow to 45% by 2020

·     Online video will represent the highest growth category, with marketing spend more than doubling from 2016 to 2021

·     Social media advertising will continue to grow and currently represents 25% of online spending 


Here at Moondust, our focus is on achieving cost effective results for our clients. With an emphasis on effective. So, here’s our guide to managing your 2019 marketing budget. 

#1 THE 70/30 RULE

It might sound obvious, but have you analysed what’s working well for you right now? It doesn’t make sense to cut budget from channels or activities that are performing well. Similarly, it isn’t logical to increase spending on activities that haven’t delivered results. In marketing circles, there’s a 70-30 rule for managing this.

·      Spend 70% on “Now”

·      Spend 30% on “Next”

70% of your marketing budget should be allocated to the things you know work. That could be your search, blogging, email marketing, social media and PR. Focus on the channels that to date have generated ROI or helped you towards hitting your KPIs. Your 30% is the exciting part. It’s what’s on the horizon. Think new technologies like AI and AR. These can be expensive to implement so do some investigation into the costs and whether they fit with your budget. Of course, your budget needs to tie into your plans and goals for 2019. Check out Hubspot’s representation of company spending priorities:

priorities in marketing budget spending 2019


Splurge on your proven channels and build on campaigns or ideas that were successful last year.Don’t be stubborn. If your best idea didn’t generate ROI then learn from it, drop it and move on. You will save money by being objective.


When creating a marketing budget, software is often overlooked. Marketers focus on advertising spend or the cost of PRs and fail to include licencing, software and marketing tools. Of course, department heads cannot be expected to know every single paid software being used. This is where you need to pull in members of your marketing team and ask for their input. Your graphic designer is probably using Shutterstock or another stock photo database. Your social media manager will certainly be using some paid scheduling tools and perhaps gif or video making software. Your content writers may be using keyword analysis tools or Copyscape. It might just be $10 dollars per month for each item, but it really adds up and can put you over budget. This is also a good time to analyse the software you’re paying for. Do you need it and are there more cost-effective alternatives on the market?


Investing in solid marketing software will help you execute your campaigns faster and cheaper. It’s an essential so don’t cut corners on it. Keep a joint excel on your server where your marketing team can contribute software and licensing costs. This can also help you keep on top of renewals should a team member leave. 


It’s likely that your budget is not limitless, and you will need to account for your choices. So, after essential licences and software comes the decision on which marketing avenues are most deserving of your budget. This is a tough one. There are so many cogs in a marketing department and each of them needs a little oil to keep turning. But some more than others. 

These should be the first items on your 2019 marketing budget:

  • Content Marketing: Content marketing is at the core of everything you do. EVERYTHING. Whether you're putting out print ads, videos, digital press releases, guest posts, onsite blogs. If you’re working with social campaigns or running paid ads, you must have professional, compelling content pumping out from your channels. Content marketing is not usually an area to cut budget. Here you should be factoring in the cost of additional freelance writers, content marketing agencies and the cost of publishing on content marketing channels.

  • SEO: Having the right search engine optimization in place is essential for attracting and retaining customers. SEO extends far beyond keywords and should also include overall content, backlinks and website maintenance. Your content marketing team will work closely with your SEO pros on this one.

  • PPC/SEARCH: Yes, you need to budget for search. Search engine advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC because it’s still effective. In a 2018 report, 62%of respondents said they planned to increase their PPC budget in the next 12 months. Google and Facebook still hold the largest share of total digital ad spend. Google continues to lead the way, with 78%of those surveyed planning to increase their Google Ads budget.


Order your 2019 marketing budget by priority, for example, essential, beneficial, wish list. Content marketing would be on your essential list, whilst AI technology orinfluencer marketing might be on your wish list. Depending on your industry and your KPIs, this may vary but the exercise will help you to prioritise spend.


Just because something used to work, doesn’t mean it does now. Marketers need to make bold and informed decisions when allocating their 2019 marketing budgets. Here’s an example. Did you know that the average click-through rate (CTR) in Google Ads is 3.17% for the search network and just 0.46% on the display network? And that’s not all. 25% of us now use ad blockers, the average click through rate for banners is just 0.06% and 60% of banner clicks are accidental. WOW. So then why do so many marketers continue to plough budget into advertising methods that are seeing lower and lower response rates?

Millennials are not fans of aggressive old-style marketing and who can blame them. Double ad sequences on YouTube vids, roadblock banners on websites and shouty social media adverts have had their day. Modern internet users want to see authentic stories, engaging videos, brands contributing to a greater world and of course, their favourite celebs with a bit of influencer marketing!

Some paid advertising areas you may want to consider adjusting or dropping:

·     Banner advertising – analyse your results and plan to adjust your campaigns or reallocate your budget. Perhaps your ads aren’t performing because the messaging is wrong, or the landing page isn’t converting. Or perhaps they are wrong for your audience. 

·     Paid social media- we know paid social media can be super effective but is yours? Check the ROI you have received from your recent social media campaigns. If you’re spending a lot and it’s not working, then change your strategy or drop your spend down.

·     Print Ads- This will depend on your industry, but print ads are not as effective as they used to be. In fact, this goes for a lot of offline marketing including expos and billboard advertising. But all is not lost. Consider bringing your print ads up to date with a little AR like IKEA did with their recent catalogue.

augmented reality customer experience


Being a marketer in 2019 is all about being dynamic and flexible. Perhaps banner ads featured heavily in your 2018 budget but that doesn’t mean you need to replicate last year’s strategy. Look at what works and what doesn’t. Take a cheeky peek at what your competitors are doing and don’t be afraid to re-evaluate your spend.


All this talk of budgeting can leave creative marketers wondering why they’re doing the job at all. As marketers our souls crave fun, creativity and adventure so be sure to leave some space for that in your 2019 marketing budget. Here are some marketing must haves for 2019 to spark your creativity and generate results.

Video Marketing - According to a recent Cisco study, online videos will make up more than 80% of consumer traffic by 2020. Think about that for a second. If you’re not telling your story and explaining your product using video, then now’s the time to start. The good news is, video is so accessible to marketers of all budget sizes. Think animated explainer videos, Facebook live and the popular AMAs (ask me anything) videos. You will need to allocate budget for script writing, animation and post video editing.

Influencer Marketing57% of companies now use influencers as part of their marketing mix while 21% are planning to add this to their strategy in the coming year. And finding your perfect influencer can be fun and inexpensive when you know how. Read our tips for snapping up your perfect influencer and decide if you have some budget to allocate. 

Competitor Intelligence – Shaken not stirred for us please. That’s right, it’s time to do a little James Bond style surveillance on your competitors in 2019.At a very basic level, you should consider a subscription to some competitive intelligence software. Think SEMrush for search, Buzzsumo for content and Crowdfire for social media. Dip into it regularly to snare some valuable insights from within your sector. 

Pick a New Network – Out with the old and in with the new right? In the coming year aim to adopt a new social media or content marketing network. This will help you to continually evolve and grow your marketing emporium. For us it’s got to be Medium in 2019. The channel now has 60 million monthly readers, publishes nearly 8 million user articles per month and its visitors are increasing by 140% year on year. Take your time to think about a fresh strategy for your brand-new network and get creative. This is going to be fun!

Once you’ve decided on your 2019 marketing budget be sure to communicate it effectively to your team. Explain why you’ve made your decisions and what your focus will be for the year ahead. This will ensure that everyone is working together for the same golden ticket. 

We hope that our guide has inspired you to make some awesome budgeting decisions in 2019. Contact our team for help creating and implementing your content and social media marketing strategy.

Marie-Helene Dibenedetto