A new survey from advertising transactional services provider Strata concludes that many more ad agencies and their clients are taking a wait-and-see attitude about advertising during the political season than just a few months ago.
There’s also more pessimism about the second half of 2012 than previously expressed and uncertainty about 2013.
The survey polled 80 ad shops earlier this month with 47% of respondents saying their clients are waiting until after the elections to advertise in order to avoid competing with political buys. Strata surmised that the finding suggests that advertisers are concerned about future costs.
That finding is also a significant shift from a similar survey done in the second quarter, when a majority of agencies polled said they were willing to compete with political advertisers, and only 18% said they would wait to advertise until after the elections.
Strata, which has over 1,000 agency clients nationally, found that TV still remains the No. 1 choice of both political and nonpolitical advertisers. Only 15% of non-political buyers say they will advertise via other mediums to avoid the onslaught of political advertising on TV.
The second half of 2012 is not shaping up well business-wise for those polled. Only 35% expect their business to be better for the second half of the year. And 19% expect business conditions to be worse. A quarter of agencies polled do not expect an increase in budgets this year, but more than half of agencies expect budgets to remain the same.
The outlook for 2013 continues to look uncertain, per the survey. Nearly a third of agencies polled don’t expect their business to return to a strong growth period until after 2013. That is a shift from Strata’s second-quarter survey when about the same percentage said they expected a growth period to occur at the beginning of 2013.
“The challenge for agencies is not maintaining business, it’s landing new business,” stated John Shelton, President and CEO of Strata. “Over 40% of media buyers say attracting clients is their biggest challenge followed by client spending.”