Online ad spend continues to grow, with this week’s IAB online ad spend study, compiled by PwC, showing total digital ad spend increased 17.5 per cent in the six months to June 30 to hit £3.04bn – up £435m from £2.61bn in the first half of 2012.
The amount spent on social media ad formats hit £242.5m during the period, with the study also showing that one-in-twelve minutes spent online is on Facebook, Twitter, or some other kind of social network.
Gut instinct alone should tell us that most of this time is spent in front of the TV when users are discussing the content in front of them. And in my mind, this calls into question the point of brands booking any TV slots.
This may come across as a bit premature but I think it’s a point well worth making. We all know that viewers typically ‘switch off’ during the ad break – that’s if they’re not in the kitchen boiling the kettle – and in a world when audiences are typically closer to their mobiles than their TVs, what’s the point in spending so much on overpriced TV ad placements?
The reason I call the practice of traditional TV advertising into question is that a separate study from Nielsen shows the average Twitter audience for a live TV show on the social network is 50 times bigger than the number of those tweeting about the show.
This suggests TV programmes’ social reach is much higher than previously thought and when you think that online ad budgets pale in comparison to the amounts spent on TV, I can’t help but think that a major realignment of the amounts invested in each discipline is needed.
I acknowledge that the trend towards brands producing ‘native advertising’, or ‘branded content’ – which is often attune to such behaviours – is a step in this direction, but I’d be eager to see more top-tier brands ditch ‘the done thing’ and actually follow the audiences.
Surely brands that balance their marketing strategies away from – what I think is – overpriced TV airtime and towards more engaged mobile and social audiences, will make themselves stand out from their competitors in the minds of the masses.