Two recent surveys by the American Advertising Federation (AAF) in San Francisco and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) in New York, show US marketers from corporations and ad agencies like the promise of digital media, but do not think either they or their clients are effectively using or managing it in their campaigns.
In fact, only one-third of one study’s respondents said their mainstream media plans were delivering results that made them happy, while nearly three quarters of the other set of respondents said digital media provided more ROI than traditional media.
The AAF Survey of Industry Leaders on Digital Media Trends, produced with Atlantic Media Company, polled 140 ad-industry leaders about their plans and positions on digital media through 2010. A majority seemed frustrated with "the curve" that digital media has thrown into the media mix: almost two-thirds said Fortune 500 companies are "generally behind the curve" on online ad strategy, while 58% admitted that they personally are "struggling simply to manage existing online efforts, let alone stay ahead of the curve."
Meanwhile, the ANA released its survey results during the opening session of its Masters of Integrated Marketing conference. Of the 85 respondents representing the nation’s biggest advertisers, 67% said they developed integrated marketing plans across most or all of their brands, but only 33% percent were "happy" with the efforts. Digital media, however, was not the source of their unhappiness. Just 30% said their general advertising "adds the most value" to their companies’ marketing programs, a sharp decline from the 51% who answered the same question in 2003.
Respondents to both surveys were skeptical of new media, especially video games. Although AAF respondents planned to increase their online ad spending to 20% of the total media budget this year, and 32% in 2010, very little of that was tagged for blogs, podcast or mobile devices. The AAF executives were most bullish on social media and online video, with 7% and 5%, respectively, of their online ad spend going to those platforms in 2007. Advergames, meanwhile, might receive 1% of their online budgets. Similarly, the ANA respondents said videogame advertising and mobile marketing were the least significant elements in their integrated marketing mix.
Finally, the two surveys showed some mismatched expectations between advertisers and their agencies. Of the ANA respondents, 72% said the most important contribution that ad agencies can make was to come up with the "big" creative idea that can be leveraged across all marketing channels. And 63% of the AAF group thinks the largest US advertisers still need help with their online ad strategies.