Smart Spending 2020: How to Spend Your Digital Marketing Budget—And What Channels Matter the Most

Learn when to test new marketing channels, how much to spend, and when to stick with the reliable channels that give you steady return.
Updated on September 26, 2023

The competition for consumers’ attention and dollars has never been greater. Marketers are expected to spend $656 billion on advertising this year—that’s 6% more than in 2019. Digital is driving most of this growth and will account for more than half of all spending worldwide in 2020.

Setting the right marketing budget for your company is both art and science at this point. Whether your annual budget is $1 million or $1,000, every marketer and small business owner wants to make sure their brand doesn’t get lost in the crowd. It’s your job to spend smart and get the most return.

At the same time, you have to keep up with constant change in the digital marketing landscape and be ready to try new channels where consumers are spending time and the return is higher. This flexibility and willingness to test and learn will take your profits to new levels.

But when you’re calculating your total marketing budget, how do you decide when to test new channels, how much to spend on each one, and when to stick with the reliable channels that give you steady return?

At Criteo, we created our Smart Spending 2020 package to help marketers allocate their budgets, learn the ins and outs of every marketing channel—from direct mail to TikTok—and check what’s working and what’s not in 2020.

Get all three parts of our package here:

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1. Digital Marketing Planning Guide 2020 

When we sat down to create our 2020 guide, we realized that the primary channels most marketers use haven’t changed. What has changed is their approach to them and the new capabilities available to marketers on each one. In this guide, we included a breakdown of every major marketing channel used today, campaign examples, and the latest trends.

For example, marketers love Instagram (the platform reached 2 billion advertisers in 2017). But do you know about Instagram Checkout?

Instagram Checkout lets users buy products without ever leaving the app. It’s still in closed beta in the US only, but it’s something to watch for in 2020 and beyond. In fact, Deutsche Bank analysts estimate that Checkout could bring $10 billion in revenue by 2021.

Until Checkout is out of beta, marketers can make full use of shoppable posts that allow followers to browse products on Instagram, and then complete their purchase on your website.

Our Digital Marketing Planning Guide 2020 has more channel updates like this, so you know what to watch in 2020. Get your copy now >>

2. Criteo’s Digital Marketing Calculator 

When you decide to test a new marketing tactic, you might have to increase your budget for one marketing channel and take some dollars away from others. And you have to make these decisions quickly.

We created a Digital Marketing Calculator that can be customized for every marketer or business owner to help with the process.

First, download the Excel calculator and update it with your total marketing budget and your current allocations across our nine top channels, including digital advertising, SEO (search engine optimization), social media marketing, and content marketing.

If you haven’t allocated your marketing budget across channels yet, no problem! We asked 900 marketers around the world how they spend their budgets to calculate our baseline allocations that any marketer can use. We also have recommendations for adjusting your own allocations depending on your marketing priorities.

Now, when you’re ready to increase your budget on one channel, our calculator instantly adjusts your budget for all other channels, and you don’t risk overspending. Download your calculator now >> 

Click here to download Criteo's Digital Marketing Calculator.

3. Your Marketing Metrics Cheat Sheet 

Do you know your CPM, CPC, or CPS?

No matter how big or small your budget is, marketing metrics matter. The way you measure the success of your marketing efforts will help you spend smarter in 2020.

Every marketing campaign has a unique objective and reaches consumers at a different stage in their customer journey—even if you’re using the same channel.

If you want new customers to discover your brand, you might launch a digital ad campaign for awareness with a branding video or beautiful brand images. If you want recent website visitors to come back to your site to make a purchase, you might launch a conversion ad campaign that features personalized product recommendations and a commerce-driven call to action like “Buy Now!”

Although you used digital advertising in both cases, there are two different objectives you’re trying to achieve and you need two different metrics to measure success.

We created Your Marketing Metrics Cheat Sheet so you always have the top metrics handy and can pick the right one for every new campaign you launch. Get your copy now >> 

Click to download Your Marketing Metrics Cheat Sheet.

Tricia Carr

Tricia is a writer and editor obsessed with learning new things. She's written about everything from retail trends and marketing technology to cocktails and vegan food. When she's not creating content, she's probably getting lost in New York or cooking breakfast food.

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