Advertisers are drastically changing their attitudes about how to spend their money most efficiently. And when it comes to traditional media, the news is mostly bad.
Research firm Ipsos Reid has been polling marketing professionals annually for nine years – an overall pool of roughly 3,000 marketers and people from their ad agencies. In the latest numbers released this week, Ipsos reported a trend continuing from previous years: marketers are thinking about significantly reducing the amount of money they spend on media such as print, direct mail, radio and television.
In the latest study, marketers were asked whether they would increase their spending, leave it the same, or decrease for each type of advertising, assuming their overall budget stayed the same.
Like last year, print was down most sharply. Areas of growth included e-mail marketing, mobile, social media and online.
Ipsos Reid cautions that the numbers are not a direct indication of where dollars are heading. But they do reflect sentiment in the marketing community about where money should be spent. And some industry analysts have cautioned that the shift in spending can be overstated.
Marketers are clearly considering that a change is needed in how they spend, however.
Marketers and agencies who reported they would spend more online were asked to specify what kind of digital marketing would draw more money. The biggest proportion, 59 per cent, pointed to branded content – a broad term for advertising that is meant to look more like entertainment that people actually want to consume. This can run the gamut from articles on news websites designed to look like editorial content but actually paid for by an advertiser, to videos that tell a compelling story but go for the soft sell by integrating a brand more subtly, and other examples.
Online video also scored high, with 58 per cent planning to spend more there. Fifty-six per cent said they would spend more on search advertising.
Ad executive Peter Ignazi has suggested the notion of "digital advertising" is so prevalent now, that a distinction between digital and traditional advertising is not needed.
"It's so ingrained now in everyone's lives, that to tease out things and call them digital would be hard, and pointless," said Mr. Ignazi, senior vice-president and executive creative director at BBDO Toronto. "People don't think about consuming things digitally or not. They're just things. Why even think about it that way? ... [Advertisers] want to have their brand be part of the conversation."
How marketers intend to change spending, on a constant budget
Online: +74 per cent
Social media: +72 per cent
Mobile: +69 per cent
E-mail: +24 per cent
Out of home (billboards, transit posters, etc.): –9 per cent
TV: –24 per cent
Radio: –27 per cent
Direct mail: –31 per cent
Print: –39 per cent
Where online marketing spending is going to increase
59 per cent: Branded content
58 per cent: Online video
56 per cent: Search
42 per cent: Display (such as banner ads) purchased through programmatic or real-time (automated) bidding
27 per cent: Display purchased through a cost-per-impression model
Where social media marketing spending is going to increase
70 per cent: Facebook
70 per cent: Twitter
59 per cent: YouTube
43 per cent: LinkedIn
37 per cent: Instagram
22 per cent: Pinterest
15 per cent: Google+