Commentary

Is Brand Vs. Performance Media An Outdated Construct?

There is new evidence this week from GroupM’s business intelligence team that “brand-oriented” media buys may be gaining on so-called “performance” ones.

The analysis -- part of a sidebar conversation during this week’s episode of its “This Week Next Week” podcast, co-hosted by Brian Wieser and Kate Scott-Dawkins -- came up as they discussed the slowdown of so-called “digital endemic” advertisers, which emphasize performance buys to convert new users.

During the podcast, Wieser confided that GroupM’s general-market brand advertisers have been asking the team about shifts in branding vs. performance campaigns, and while he acknowledged that there’s a “nuance that goes into even trying to answer the question,” he said the slowdown by the billion dollar–plus digital endemic ad category will inherently boost the share of branding campaigns.

His rationale: If performance-oriented digital endemic brands are decelerating ad spending while traditional brand-oriented once are continuing to grow, “the overall mix of advertising shifts possibly in favor of brand rather than performance. Isn’t that an interesting observation.”

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Scott-Dawkins concurred, but added that she has been hearing people say the whole brand vs. performance debate may be an “outdated construct,” because “all media is performance to some extent and all media is brand to some extent.”

Wieser agreed, offering an anecdote about an advertiser that buys a major retargeting solution normally intended to achieve performance KPIs to boost its brand impression, simply because they were more cost-efficient than buying brand-oriented media buys.

“You can end up with a seller thinking they’re selling performance, but a buyer not necessarily buying that,” he confided.

Wieser cited another factor that indicates at least a near-term shift to brand-oriented media: Long-term upfront commitments for buying television.

Noting that TV typically is used as a branding medium and the fact that the terms of advance TV buys make them more difficult to cut or reduce during economic downturns, it “might actually involve a shift to branding rather than performance, because of the budget commitments you made.”

3 comments about "Is Brand Vs. Performance Media An Outdated Construct?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 29, 2022 at 12:50 p.m.

    A  most  interesting subject, Joe. We have been doing a specail analysis of how branding  ad dollrs split versus non-branding ad spend by media for a number of years. The findings, which are educated estimates, based, in part, on reviews of what kinds of ads appear in each media, have consistently shown that branding campaigns account for roughly 50% of total ad dollars---with TV, radio and magazines overwhelmingly supported by branding ad revenues while digital media are very heavily oriented to non-branding activities---search being a primary example.

    The main point is that in many cases, these funds do not come out of the same "budget"  nor are they handled by the same people at the advertisers or  the agencies. Indeed, much of the non-branding spend is done in-house or via specialist agencies and it's often at the behest of the sales or distribution people not the brand managers---though there is some degree of coordintion between the two. Which means that if there is a cut back on non-branding spend during a recession this does not necessarily mean that the branding campaign will be affected---or vica versa.

  2. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, August 29, 2022 at 12:54 p.m.

    @Ed Papazian: Thanks for sharing that, Ed. If you ever want us to publish something more substantive, we'd be happy to do an article based on your tracking.

  3. Rose One Capital from ROSE ONE CAPITAL, August 30, 2022 at 10:40 a.m.

    Wow!! thanks for sharing this informative piece.

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