I’m talking about digital ad spend versus TV ad spend, of course.
The content side of TV is in great shape. Or perhaps we should say that video content creation is in great shape. We could in fact argue that we are living in a golden age of video content, while seeming to declare TV an advertising has-been.
I find that IF we talk about TV as an advertising medium, we talk about it mostly from a cost perspective. The question perpetually seems to be: “How do we get the cost per GRP or cost per thousand flat or down?”
Why is that? How did the TV industry let this happen?
According to numerous pieces of research from, for instance, Adobe/CMO.com and E&Y last year, marketers’ key objectives are factors like consumer engagement, mobile platforms and targeting/segmentation through (big) data. But that is not what the TV advertising conversation is about, as I just noted. TV is apparently not seen as an important part of those objectives.
Perhaps one of the reasons for the diminished place of TV in marketing strategies is that the TV industry raises prices regardless of audience delivery, and marketers (or marketing procurement folks) charge their media agencies to negotiate that price increase away. So the conversation focuses on TV advertising costs, and the main capability criteria for media agencies is negotiations results. It is a self-perpetuating cycle that seems impossible to break.
The digital advertising industry claims to be part of the objectives marketers says they care about most, and marketers’ perception is that this is true. The reality is, of course, that digital is still largely unproven as a true sales and brand value platform, and is full of highly dubious practices and costly middlemen.
Let’s be realistic: For marketers, ”doing” digital is essential. But at the same time, I think 2015 should be the year we accept the following three realities:
1. Digital is everywhere, but its ability to build brands and generate sales needs a lot of work. We are in the Digital Middle Ages: We have strong beliefs but not enough science.
2. TV advertising is still, and will remain, an important part of our media mix, but we must move the discussion beyond just cost. We should focus instead on how marketers can generate engagement and grow brand love and sales through the TV platform in all of its manifestations.
3. Digital ad fraud. It doesn’t matter which percentage of fraudulent traffic you believe in, because any number greater than 1% should be unacceptable. We don’t accept ad fraud in any other medium, so why we do in digital advertising is inexplicable.
Our current marketing ecosystem is fascinating, but also full of very large holes. We must make it our joint mission to close those holes.