TORONTO: Two thirds of big brands will increase online adspend in 2017-18 despite growing concerns around performance metrics and viewability, a new report finds.

A study undertaken by the World Federation of Advertisers and Ebiquity into the intentions and concerns of the world's largest advertisers, based on responses from more than 50 leading global advertisers, showed that brands are exercising increased caution when buying online advertising.

The results indicated that advertisers are not convinced by current measurement standards in online advertising: 62% of respondents expressed dissatisfaction; and less than half (45%) could point to the value it adds.

In addition, 72% of respondents believed that advertisers had over-invested in online advertising. This is in part due to concerns over viewability, which 90% of respondents labelled a 'major concern'.

"Respondents demonstrate strong support for recent public calls by Marc Pritchard of Procter & Gamble and others for higher standards in independent measurement and verification in online advertising," said Nick Manning, Chief Strategy Officer for Ebiquity.

Despite their concerns, two thirds of advertisers said they planned to increase online spend in the coming year; one fifth (21%) said they would reduce their paid online activity.

The WFA noted that while advertisers were not yet convinced about the effectiveness of digital advertising, 75% were willing to accept the challenges it presents.

There are significant motivations for advertising online, the foremost being to drive incremental reach – a major part of the decision to invest for 79% of marketers – followed by increasing brand awareness, cited by 69%. Just 55% cited 'precise targeting' as a major factor.

Due to the perception that online video advertising contributes to a 'high effect', this channel will be the main beneficiary of increasing spend, with 89% of respondents indicating they will invest more this year.

Advertisers are looking for proof, Manning added, and "a better understanding of how online contributes to their business performance and how it delivers meaningful return on investment".

Data sourced from WFA; additional content by WARC staff