Digital media consultants and their ad buyers are getting mixed messages this cycle.
On the one hand, they appear heading for a commission bonanza. If the growth pattern holds, digital ad revenue will top $106 billion in 2018 (other estimates have it closer to $78.2 billion).
This growth is being fueled by the nearly hour and a half that people are spending watching digital video.
In fact, a new survey says that the average time spent watching online video by an America is now at 80.4 minutes — more than 13 minutes above the global average but about 24 minutes below the high recorded in China, according to a forecast by Zenith, which falls under the Publicis Media banner.
The digital agency’s survey covers broadcaster-owned platforms including Hulu, OTT subscription services like Netflix, YouTube, and videos viewed on Facebook and other social media.
“Video’s share of online display advertising is rising steadily: it accounted for 27 [percent] of display adspend in 2017, and we expect it to account for 30 [percent] in 2020,” the forecasters said in a release. “This rapid rise in consumption is leading to a shift in the way brands plan campaigns across both television and online video.”
But this is happening as overall media revenue is dropping and some major brand advertisers have scaled back their digital buying as regulators from DC to Sacramento have stepped up oversight of the digital ad market.
Still, millennial voters are a targeted demographic in 2018 and digital is a popular channel for hitting that audience, in part, because it’s so large.
Zenith puts the cohort of U.S. online viewers 16-34 at 65.5 million. But there’s another study that finds this age group is twice more likely to be watching ad-supported TV than YouTube, with six times as many watching TV than Facebook videos at any given time.
Moreover, Zenith’s own survey notes that the number of regular linear TV viewers isn’t just holding steady — it’s rising. Almost a million more people are watching linear TV in 2018 than last year, according to its reporting.
If threading the needle on the media buy wasn’t hard enough, consultants and their planners have more research to consider.
Keep in mind, this cycle practitioners have already noted that keeping up with the volume of content necessary to pepper an audience with a message across channels effectively is challenging.
A shortage of good creative means that practitioners will have to consider where to get the most bang for their dollar. To wit, they should consider Kantar Media’s recent Dimension study.
That survey of internet users, conducted late last year among 1,000 Americans and 5,000 in Brazil, China, France and the U.K., found that more people enjoy watching TV ads than spots online.
More than a third of the respondents said they “enjoyed” TV ads compared with 25 percent who said they enjoyed online formats better.