Once upon a time, a marketing agency in London hoping to reach a massive audience would automatically make television its advertising medium of choice. Now, this decision is not so clear-cut.
In 2016, digital advertising spend surpassed TV ad spend in the United States for the first time, with digital racking up $72.5 billion compared to TV’s $71.3 billion . Though the difference of a mere $1billion may seem like splitting hairs given the industry’s staggering income, it may be indicative of a larger shift in the advertising landscape.
Could this change mean we’re on the verge of abandoning TV ads altogether, or can digital and TV advertising co-exist? Judging from the numbers, things are looking rather grim for television – but the bigger picture may turn out a fairy-tale ending after all.
More Digital Entertainment, More Digital Ads
TV certainly has more competition than it used to: instead of tuning in to the six o’clock news, we get notifications to our phones directly from our preferred news outlets. Rather than waiting for a TV show to air, we log in to Netflix and watch what we want on demand. More and more, people look to social media, mobile devices and streaming platforms for entertainment and news.
Indeed, this competition has had negative implications for TV viewership: earlier this year, Ofcom reported that teenagers and children in the UK watch one-third less broadcast television than they did in 2010 . Unsurprisingly, generations growing up in the digital age are more likely to spend their time on social media and the internet – so it makes sense that advertising agencies are following suit, placing more emphasis on creating ads for social media, search engines, websites and apps.
Reaching the Right Audience
Increased competition alone does not account for the rise of digital in ad spending, however. Another reason for digital marketing’s growing presence is its ability to target unique audiences. A social media agency can tailor their ads to a consumer’s age, interests, gender, location, demographic, interests, marital status and many other factors, creating campaigns that people are more likely to act on.
A Comprehensive Approach
This is not to say that TV advertising is becoming entirely obsolete. In the UK, TV advertising spend is down by 6.2 % this year, but is expected to come back at 2.5% growth in 2018 . The traditional television commercial spot is still a powerful method of conveying a brand’s attitude, ethos and products.
Of course, TV ads are more effective for some companies than they are for others. A brand targeted at teenagers will probably want to allocate more of their ad spend to digital platforms, while companies aimed at baby boomers will find that TV is still the ideal path. Ultimately, the best advertising medium for a certain product or company will vary according to target audience.
In order to come up with a comprehensive marketing strategy, it’s important not to discount television advertising altogether. A good marketing agency understands that maintaining a presence across media, channels and platforms is often the key to raising awareness about a brand. Technology is constantly evolving and merging – in order for companies to live happily ever after, they must take advantage of both old and new methods of reaching audiences.