November 02, 2019

by Kristanne Roberts - Global Development Director - Brand Lift Insights Kantar

Digital advertising’s readily available measurement metrics and low-cost perceptions make it more attractive by the day, which is reflected in the channel’s growing share of spend. But is it really as effective as marketers think it is?

The answer is that it can be, but not at the neglect of other media.

Digital or online media is often seen as the Holy Grail of media channels. With new research constantly being published about the relative strengths of one platform over another. We see more and more marketers looking to shift budget away from traditional media into online platforms, some even testing the water with 100 percent digital investment.

Kantar’s own CrossMedia data, based on 1200 campaigns, shows that online display continues to generate impact across all brand metrics, but cost effectiveness has fallen in recent years to below average. Online video platforms and Facebook, however, still show high levels of efficiency in driving brand building metrics, benefitting greatly from synergies with TV.

Online video and Facebook also provide advertisers the opportunity to achieve cost effective incremental reach over TV, particularly among the light TV viewing audience. All digital formats do however show low levels of consumer receptivity, and high levels of ad avoidance. They are still seen as being invasive and contextually inappropriate, especially among the younger GenZ audience.  Brands should therefore look to target sensitively and embrace the skip, rather than seek to invade people’s personal space.

Marketers know context is important but are not confident they are getting it right. To succeed, digital campaigns need to be tailored carefully across display vs video and desktop vs mobile formats, and they also need to be customised to specific media environments.  Unfortunately, this is still too often neglected in the campaigns we see. Ensuring creative executions are fit for the context in which they will be delivered is essential to improving receptivity, and channel efficiency.

Where channel reach overlaps, digital benefits strongly from the synergistic effects, but only when consumers are readily able to recognize the different elements as coming from the same brand and campaign.

Whilst some marketers might also think moving spend into digital and out of other media is the answer to saving costs, it’s worth pointing out that it is just as easy to overspend on Digital as with TV, or any other media for that matter.

From Kantar’s CrossMedia data, we see that the most cost-effective campaigns are those where neither TV nor Digital has more than 30 percent share of media spend.

So digital may not be the Holy Grail, but it certainly has some clear strengths when it comes to driving long term brand growth. To make the most of digital’s strengths, advertisers need to recognise the different contextual requirements, and should design media laydown and creative integration with multi-media resonance and magnification effects in mind.

What are the biggest challenges you face when it comes to digital?



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