Advertisers Shift Spending to Traditional Media When ROI is Right

BY Kathy Crosett
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We all know that digital ad spending is likely to surpass spending on traditional media formats this year. By 2023, say eMarketer analysts, projected digital advertising will amount to 66% of media spending. Traditional media sellers don't need to panic about the future of the industry. There’s more to the story.

Large Advertisers Are Increasing Ad Spend

Consumers are spending more time with all kinds of media. To reach them, marketers are increasing their ad spending. They’re also focusing on the media mix. Keith Weed, chief marketing and communications officer at CPG giant Unilever, recently summed up his situation. “Our spend in digital has been increasing over the years, as, indeed, has our total spend in advertising.” Like Unilever, many large brands shift spending from one format to another to reach audiences where they spend their media time.

Technology Improves Marketer Agility

Marketers also want ROI feedback quickly. If a campaign isn’t working, they may want to adjust the creative. Or they may have to purchase media space at a different time of day. In other cases, they'll buy space on a different set of online properties. Traditional media formats are also looking more attractive to some marketers after they review campaign feedback. 

At LendingTree, for example, the CMO Brad Wilson was looking for a way to “share our brand story.” For that company, “A digital-​only strategy limits numerical reach and doesn't leave much of an imprint from an awareness or even a consideration perspective.” LendingTree has adjusted its media mix in favor of purchasing traditional formats. The company has introduced new product lines and uses revenue from that source to fund the bigger investment in traditional advertising. To track how it’s doing, LendingTree continually measures awareness, performance before and after ad drops, and how audience behavior changes. 

Marketers Need Your Help

The common thread in these stories is that marketers are looking for more marketing services. Corey Elliott, EVP at Borrell Associates, said this in a recent webinar. “[Marketers] want things delivered in a package that integrates different forms of advertising. They want a complete thing that not only integrates digital and traditional media, but also digital services.” In its recent Selling to SMBs Study, SalesFuel learned that over 23% of businesses with between 20 and 500 employees will be looking for outside assistance on digital marketing services in the next year. Don't let the shift to digital worry you. Show your clients a complete cross-​channel ad campaign and offer to help them monitor ROI.