BERLIN: An increasing number of marketers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are taking a more nuanced approach to using the web, as they try to improve a range of brand metrics.

Neo @ Ogilvy, the digital agency, surveyed 150 advertising and media executives in these countries, and reported that 80% of firms increased their online adspend last year.

By contrast, only 5% trimmed their investment in this medium, a development that was encouraged by the heightened need to prove the return on investment from their communications activity.

The amount of campaigns which focused on building brands, rather than targeted or one-off initiatives, climbed to 45% in Germany and 38% in Austria.

"More and more businesses see that they can achieve both quantitative and qualitative marketing objectives most effectively using digital media," said Stefan Längin, ceo of Neo @ Ogilvy.

"In the future, digital marketing will take an even larger share of the lucrative advertising budgets for brand advertising."

However, Swiss respondents also stated the intention of reducing their number of online brand campaigns, a trend that was indicative of broader differences across the nations assessed.

For example, the internet took its highest share of ad revenues in Germany, receiving around 19% of all expenditure in Europe's biggest economy.

However, according to Neo @ Ogilvy's findings, traditional media also took a 50% share in Germany, leaving it in a stronger position in the media mix than was the case elsewhere.

While Switzerland posted broadly similar totals to those in Germany in both of these areas, advertisers in Austria tended to place a heavier emphasis on PR and rely less on traditional media.

Looking forward, contributors in each of the featured markets were aiming to boost their profile on social media portals like Facebook and Twitter this year.

Other innovative channels like IPTV, podcasts and mobile marketing were also set to receive further attention going forward.

Paid-for search had a more pronounced role in Germany, while participants in Austria favoured employing email in an effort to engage with their customers. 

Data sourced from Neo @ Ogilvy/Horizon; additional content by Warc staff