Short Takes: Advertisers Doubt Emerging Media Effectiveness


There’s good news and bad news when it comes to advertiser adoption of emerging digital media. The good news, according to a survey of the Association of National Advertisers, is adoption of digital advertising, mobile and search marketing keeps growing. The bad news: doubts about its effectiveness are also growing.

The ANA survey found many digital ad efforts are firmly mainstream. Online ads, for example, are now used by 96 percent of advertisers, social media by 89 percent and even mobile by 75 percent, compared to 32 percent as recently as 2009.

On the flip side, there’s declining confidence in many newer media, at least according to the survey. Online ads were judged effective by 30 percent, as opposed to 32 percent in 2009. Search-engine marketing confidence fell even more, from 65 percent to 48 percent. SEO also declined. Mobile increased but to just 25 percent judging it effective.

The results point to the continued problems new forms of digital media have in proving they effect sales. Newer measurements like engagement are confused and often befuddle marketers. The biggest issue, however, might be that advertisers’ own systems for evaluating their media mix aren’t modernized. The old adage “nobody got fired for buying TV” in some ways still applies. The reach/frequency model of TV has decades of refinement. In the meantime, the online ad industry is still arguing over the importance of click-through rates.

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