Overall a net balance of +0.5% of companies recorded an increase to their marketing budgets over the period, which is down from +4.4% in the Q3 2015 report.
While the overall result represents the lowest upward revision for nearly three years, growth in marketing budgets has continued over the last 13 quarters.
Internet marketing experienced an upward revision of +6.9, the highest of all Bellwether categories, however the figure is lower than the +7.8% posted in Q3. Within internet, search/SEO spending rose by 0.6% to +5.8%.
Marginal increases were recorded for main media (+1.1%) and PR (+0.6%), meanwhile declines were identified for ‘other’ (-12.1%), sales promotions (-7.7%), market research (-7.3%) and direct marketing (-1.7%).
Companies’ optimism around their own prospects dropped from +22.4% to +20.4% in Q4, however the report also points out that marketers' budget plans are positive this year – a net balance of +24.6% of companies indicated growth in their total budgets for 2016/17.
Overall the report forecasts a 3.9% increase in UK adspend growth in 2016.
Paul Simonet, creative strategy director at Imagination said: "The ninth consecutive quarter of growth [for the events category specifically] and the role of experience in many brand Christmas and New Year strategy is encouraging but the events and experiences sector needs to focus on long term connected experiences that integrate with all elements of brand communication. Connected experiences are for the life of a brand…not just for Christmas"
Paul Bainsfair, IPA's director general added: "While these latest findings reveal inevitable easing due to macroeconomic concerns, there are some positives. Marketers have signalled a marked increase in their budget plans for 2016, both the Olympics and Euros are on the horizon and Bellwether has predicted annual adspend growth of 3.9%. Not a bad start to the year."