For the report--the fourth in an ongoing series of quarterly studies of media professionals by MediaPost and Deutsche Bank--87 media executives were questioned earlier this month about their clients' experiences with Internet advertising in the third quarter, and expectations for the fourth quarter. InsightExpress conducted the online survey, using members of the MediaPost advisory panel.
Lead times, although short, currently seem to be trending upwards from earlier in the year. The survey found that 67 percent of media buyers commit to purchasing online inventory within three months of a campaign, and almost half--48 percent of respondents--commit just two months or less in advance. But both of those figures were down from the second quarter, when 75 percent of media executives said they bought inventory within three months of a campaign's launch; the majority--54 percent of second-quarter respondents--committed two months or less in advance.
Also, 8 percent of media executives to participate in the third-quarter survey said they committed more than six months in advance, compared to 5 percent in the second quarter; one in four third-quarter respondents secured online inventory between three and six months in advance, compared to 20 percent in the second quarter.
Still, the relatively short overall lead times appear to be driven by publishers' reluctance to sell inventory in advance, wrote Deutsche Bank analyst Jeetil Patel in the report. "Despite increased demand by some advertisers for longer lead times, we believe that publishers are becoming less willing to commit to longer lead times in order to maintain pricing flexibility in what has become a very strong pricing environment," Patel wrote.