GLOBAL: Marketers believe that they are likely to waste around a quarter of their marketing budgets this year, according to a new report that also highlights how they remain focused on reach rather than tracking performance.

The study by Rakuten Marketing, What Marketers Want from 2018, was conducted among over 1,000 marketers from the US, UK, France, Germany, Australia and Singapore, and found that respondents estimated they will waste 26% of their marketing budget in 2018 on the wrong channels or strategies.

Marketers in the UK were least worried about budget waste, estimating just 20% of their budget is lost on the wrong channels or strategies, a figure that rose to 25% in Germany and 30% in France and the US.

Despite the waste, 75% of marketers indicated they would switch ad spend from one platform to another for better reach. Just 36% chose better performance tracking, which the study noted is “a vital element in establishing the mix of marketing channels that will turn the greatest return on investment”.

Brand safety, meanwhile, was seen as a threat by more than a third (36%) of respondents, but just 7% said that the existence of brand safety tools were a compelling reason to change platforms.

While issues like ad fraud, brand safety and GDPR may dominate the headlines, the most pressing concerns for marketers in 2018 turn out to be familiar short-term ones: altered customer expectations (50%) and the loss of customers (43%).

The preferred method of tackling these concerns differs from country to country, although Rakuten noted a shift away from written marketing content towards image-led and voice campaigns.

Six in ten (59%) said video was the form of content they were mostly likely to invest in during 2018. But little of their budget – just 5.9% on average – will be going towards influencers, with many marketers unclear on how fees are calculated and whether such campaigns drive sales.

US marketers were the most interested in voice investment, with 48% planning to direct budget towards these campaigns.

France (39%) and Singapore (55%) led when it comes to putting money into VR, but just 19% of marketers in Germany and Australia were planning such investment .

Sourced from Rakuten Marketing; additional content by WARC staff