The World Federation of Advertisers released a new study at Cannes Tuesday that reveals that while 30% of respondents surveyed believe ad effectiveness has “increased dramatically” over the last five years, just 8% said the same for awareness.
The top factors driving awareness shortcomings include clutter (63%), the increasing ease of ad avoidance (53%), declining reach (42%) and declining trust in advertising (39%).
To address the awareness challenges, respondents say they are focusing investment in ecommerce, programmatic, POS and offline advertising. Ecommerce was cited as a top priority by 28% of respondents, with a further 30% saying it was a high priority, while programmatic -- covering search, social and display -- named as a top priority by 26% and as a high priority by 47% of respondents.
The results were based on an online survey of WFA members conducted earlier this month. More than 100 individuals responded from 70 companies across 15 categories. Collectively, respondent companies spend roughly $115 billion on media and marketing annually.
Overall, 72% of respondents said lower-purchase-funnel messages had improved in effectiveness over the last five years -- but only 43% said the same about top-funnel performance, and 37% said effectiveness had declined.
Despite this, most advertisers are continuing to focus their investment on awareness.
Spend is focused on top-the funnel activities for most respondents, with 55% saying most of their investment was going toward activity designed to promote brand awareness. Some 31% were investing evenly between awareness and lower-funnel performance, with 7% investing mostly in performance messages and channels.
Despite stagnant economic conditions in many markets, 43% reported ad investment was up at their firms over the last 12 months, 15% reported a significant rise, and 28% said it was “somewhat more.”
The full report, titled "The State Of Advertising," can be accessed here. The Economist Group assisted with the study.
“What we take away from this survey is that we need to balance short-term needs with long-term brand building,” stated Mark Cripps, CMO, The Economist Group.