DUBAI: Over 50% of marketers in the Middle East predict their annual budgets will decline this year, and most also feel clients are placing an increasing emphasis on measurement and accountability, according to figures from Initiative, the media network, and the Gulf Marketing Review.

Adspend in the Middle East rose by 11% in 2007 based on ratecard data, and earlier this year Booz & Company argued online revenues in the area would grow by over 25% in 2009.

However, based on a survey of 250 senior marketers in the Middle East, Initiative and the Gulf Marketing Review found that the budgets of 20% of this group will fall by more than half this year.

Furthermore, a total of 90% of respondents stated there was a heightened focus among their clients on agencies delivering a strong return on investment.

As such, 75% of participants were of the opinion that tools to measure media audiences were increasingly important, while 65% will only use those channels where it is possible to clearly establish ROI.

Richard Beaven, worldwide ceo of Initiative, argued that improvements in measurement techniques and clients' focus on results means there is "little excuse for the advertising industry not to raise their game and become more accountable."

Data sourced from Al Bawaba; additional content by WARC staff