This signals a substantial increase on the Q4 2015 figure, where a 0.6% rise was reported.
Overall marketing budgets were recorded marginally higher, with +3.0% of companies experiencing an increase to their budgets during the period, up from +0.5% in Q4 2015.
While this marks 14 successive periods of growth, the figure is lower than those recorded in the majority of quarterly reports from the past two-and-a-half years.
On a sector-by-sector basis, internet marketing was the top performer, recording an upward revision of +9.8%, which marks a five-quarter high.
Main media spend rose by 1.7%, meanwhile sectors that experienced reduced spending included sales promotion (-8.4%), direct marketing (-4.9%), ‘other’ marketing activities (-4%), PR (-4%), and market research (-3.1%).
Issues such as the macroeconomic climate – including Brexit, weak global economic growth and ongoing government spending cuts - are believed to have contributed to the industry’s attitude towards future financial prospects.
Confidence around financial prospects dropped from +7% in Q4 2015 to -6.5% in Q1 2016 – the lowest recording since the start of 2013, meanwhile companies' attitudes around their own financial prospects decreased from +20.4% in the previous quarter to +13.6% in Q1 2016 – the lowest level since late 2012.
On a more positive note, +23.3% of marketing professionals are forecasting a higher spend in 2016/17.
In lieu of these figures and broader conditions, Bellwether predicts an overall marketing spend growth of 3.3% for 2016, which is down from the +3.9% figure it initially projected in Q4 2015.
Patrick Reid, CEO EMEA, Imagination, said: "We believe that the strong growth in this category signals that experiences are becoming increasingly powerful; meaningfully reaching more people than ever before, as well as being truly measurable, through social media and smart technology. This combination means marketers are turning to experiences to deliver the results they want."
Paul Bainsfair, director general, IPA added: "It is good to see that marketing budgets have now been revised up continuously for three-and-a-half years, however, with confidence waning the outlook appears mixed.
"Following the referendum in June, this summer Bellwether should hopefully provide better clarity on where we are headed. On balance some growth seems the most likely outcome especially with the European football championships and Olympics set to provide a shot in the arm to budgets in the immediate months ahead."
More: Read up on the industry's reaction to the findings of the Q4 2015 report here. Stay tuned for our Q1 2016 follow up piece over the coming days.
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