HONG KONG: Online advertising, including interactive and mobile, accounted for 55% of advertising budgets in Hong Kong last year, according to a new survey which suggests online channels will continue to drive adspend growth in 2018.

The Advertising Spending Projections 2018 survey, conducted by research firm Nielsen on behalf of the Hong Kong Advertisers Association, also revealed that total adspend in 2017 was HK$41.9bn, an increase of 4% compared with 2016 (as published in WARC's Adspend Database on 22nd February).

The survey, which included many of the top-spending advertisers in Hong Kong, found that 38% expect the territory’s economy to pick up in 2018, with a third (33%) planning to increase their spending while about half (53%) will keep their budgets unchanged.

One changing trend identified in the report is that instead of advertising funds being shifted from offline to online and mobile channels, 31% of advertisers are now gaining additional funding to support online marketing.

Furthermore, the decline in the proportion of advertising budgets allocated to offline channels last year was less than the decline in the previous year.

As explained by Cherry Lau, Senior Director of Media at Nielsen Hong Kong, projected adspend for 2018 is expected to reach 59% for online and 41% for offline.

“The increase in advertising budget is attributable mainly to advertisers’ increasing focus on digital media,” she said. “As many as 63% of surveyed advertisers reported that they will increase their online advertising budget, a clear sign for marketers of how advertising is being transformed.”

Turning to the marketing effectiveness of various channels, 83% of respondents said they expected the effectiveness of mobile marketing to increase, followed by online video (66%) and social media/paid social media content (65%).

Some 41% said TV was keeping some of its competitiveness, but only 2% of advertisers said they regarded print as an effective channel.

“With online becoming the mainstream, there is no doubt that mobile will become pre-eminent over the next few years,” Lau said. “Even though advertisers now have more experience and control in using online and in online/social marketing tactics, marketers are still keen on having cross-channel optimisation and online measurement to help them make better decisions.”

Sourced from Hong Kong Advertisers Association; additional content by WARC staff