Agencies are taking an increased shine to streaming video and audio options, according to a fourth-quarter survey conducted by STRATA. The survey found that 75% of agencies are more interested in streaming video than they were a year ago and 54% are more interested in streaming audio. Forty percent of agencies are "fairly confident" they are getting a good ROI out of their streaming video buys, while an equal amount are not quite sure yet. And 44% of agencies said their online video buys are reaching their intended audience "most of the time" along with 39% that said it reaches them "only sometimes."
In other media, local TV saw an increase in agency attention, as nearly a quarter of those polled said they are more interested in it than they were last year, while 24% are more interested in local cable. Overall, 42% of agencies are more focused on local TV/cable than any other medium for their campaigns (digital was second at 32%).
Mobile and digital advertising also saw a major boost in agency attention. Digital remained strong, with 84% of agencies that said they are more interested in it than one year ago. Digital has remained around 80% for the last 16 quarters. Online display drove digital for 85% of agencies, followed by search (71%), mobile (70%), and social (66%). While second on that list, mobile witnessed a bump as 77% are more interested in mobile compared to a year ago (an increase of 12% from the previous quarter).
In the area of social media, the percentage of agencies that employ paid social media almost doubled from the previous quarter. Over a third (38%) of agencies are allocating between 6-10% of their budgets for paid social advertising, a 43% increase from last quarter. Instagram vaulted to the third spot in social media for agency campaigns behind Facebook (93%) and YouTube (59%). Instagram and Twitter have 49% of agencies that planned on using those platforms in ad campaigns, but Instagram spiked 84% from last year while Twitter declined 8%.
In the area of concern, client attraction (34% of agencies) and client spend (24%) are the top two leading concerns for agencies as the historical leader -- media mix -- came in third at 17%. Even with those concerns, over half (59%) of agencies said they see their business increasing this quarter compared to a year ago. Half of all agencies state client budgets are expected to remain the same in 2016 compared to 2015 while 31% of agencies do expect to see minor cuts.
As expected, programmatic buying continued to gain agency interest even as inventory concerns linger. Just under half of agencies plan to use programmatic to conduct 10-20% of their business this year, while 30% will refrain from using programmatic -- the lowest percentage ever in the STRATA survey. Digital display is getting the bulk of the programmatic ad spend with 32% of agencies allocating 10-20% of their programmatic budget on display. In the area of programmatic TV, just 12% of agencies are allocating 10-20% of their programmatic ad spent to TV, and only 7% trust programmatic to execute local TV orders. Agencies list audience targeting as the top benefit of programmatic (52%), followed by buying efficiency (47%). The quality of inventory (62%) and transparency of inventory sources (53%) are the leading concerns over programmatic.
Of the finding, STRATA Director J.D. Miller said: "The results of the STRATA Survey confirm what we've been hearing from advertisers for some time. The ad industry continues to fragment as players like Instagram and streaming options gain market share. Even so, more established players continue to dominate, with local TV and Facebook still leading video and social. With this give and take, budgets are fueling demand for alternative channels as agencies have a better handle on working with multiple platforms and devices,"