It's obvious that Internet spending is continuing to increase, with some reports stating growth as high as 74 percent year over year, but what about the rest of what I call "digital" media? Digital media, in my mind, goes far beyond that of our current online definition and includes the digital extensions of traditional media. Digital outdoor, digital television and mobile are all extensions of another format--and as dollars increase against these formats, where are the dollars accrued?
According to eMarketer, online media spend will reach 10.1 percent of total budget allocation by 2010. I argue that if you factor in the digital extensions for traditional media (which can also be connected to the Internet) that the aggregate of digital media will come in around 20-25 percent. That's only 3½ years away, but it's a significant increase that I think is very realistic. Every agency is testing new means of reaching the target audience, and every one of these methods is digital and has the capability of being tied to the Internet.
The other media vehicle which is gaining steam is more traditional outdoor. I see outdoor, regardless of any digital components, increasing dramatically, as this is probably one of the two most innovative marketing tools currently being used. I have seen some amazing executions from Nike, Adidas and a number of other brands over the last year, and the impact of these units dramatically increases the effectiveness of these ads. I can't profess to know the numbers, but I'm sure that outdoor is going to see some increases along the lines of 20-25 percent over the next few years.
What about TV, magazines, radio and newspaper? Well, my predictions are that TV, specifically traditional TV, will see a flattening of spend over the next few years, with new dollars being allocated to digital media. Magazines will likely see a continued decrease, at least until digital paper becomes a reality (which appears to be about 10-15 years away). As for radio and newspaper, I'm sad to say they will continue to see a decline in direct proportion to their usage in the key 18- to 34-year-old demographic. These media, as much as I may enjoy them, are not as relevant as they used to be, and really only exist as a means of reminding the audience about the messages they interacted with somewhere else.
I can't predict the numbers, or what the future may hold, but I do believe that overall ad spending is still increasing and that we will find new and even more innovative ways to interact with an audience in the coming years, which leads me to my final question, one that I wanted to pose to all of you. How do we track and record marketing in non-paid vehicles such as communities and social networking? These rarely require spend, but are sometimes more effective than paid placements. I see these growing in significance over the coming years, but I can't say I know how we will measure these as viable portions of the budgets.
What do you think?