LONDON: The outlook for UK marketers is brighter than it has been for some time according to the latest quarterly IPA Bellwether Report which shows a significant upwards revision of marketing budgets in the first three months of the year.

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising report, which features data drawn from a panel of around 300 UK marketing professionals, found a net balance of +24% of companies registering an increase in budgets during Q1 2014 (that figure being calculated by subtracting the percentage reporting a downward revision from the percentage reporting an upward revision).

This was a sharp rise on the previous quarter's figure of +11% and marked a sixth successive quarter of budgets being revised upwards. The IPA also noted that it was the largest single upwards revision in 14 years of data collection.

Report author Chris Williamson said the upbeat assessment painted "a remarkably buoyant picture" for the remainder of the year.

"Companies are ramping up their markets and advertising expenditure in the face of growing optimism about the economic outlook," he said. "As higher marketing spend is also usually accompanied by rising business investment and job creation, this augurs well for economic growth to top 3.0% this year."

The figures meant that marketing executives ended the 2013/14 financial year on a more positive note than they began it, with a net balance of +17.2% reporting increased budgets compared to the +13.5% anticipating this at the start of the year. This was the first time since 2006/07 that this had happened.

All categories had registered upwards revisions, with main media advertising being the primary beneficiary of the uplift, recording a series record net balance of +11.7%.

It also supplanted internet advertising as the best performer of all categories for the first time in just under three years and, said the report, indicated a growing confidence and willingness amongst marketing executives to commit to high profile campaigns.

Internet advertising had a net balance of +8.5% and within that search was on +13.9%.

For the rest, events recorded a net balance of +6.2%, sales promotions was on +3.4%, direct marketing +2.6%, PR +2.1% and market research +1.1%.

Data sourced from IPA; additional content by Warc staff