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Zenith adspend forecasts: industry analysis

08 Oct 2019 
Zenith adspend forecasts: industry analysis

Social media is expected to claim a 13% share of global adspend this year and overtake print for the first time, according to Zenith's latest Advertising Expenditure Forecasts. Here, industry experts digest the findings.

Hannah Mahony, Lead Social Strategist, Cheil UK

Human beings are looking down more and more, upwards focus has become an uncommon occurrence. Call it sad, or call it the evolution of the human species - whichever you choose it’s an undeniable reality that advertisers are facing more and more. You need just observe a tube carriage at rush hour to see this in action – erratic scrolls for intermittent station WiFi coming in and out of signal – eyes down, ears plugged in and newspapers flung to the floor.

Although Zenith’s report shows social advertising’s growth is set to decline somewhat as the market matures, we advertisers will still always be beholden to the ever-changing algorithms, formats and new mediums introduced by social platforms in their long term copy-cat competitive race. Yes print competition has existed for a time, but as attention spans shorten and the demand for flashier, shinier engaging content (that will inevitably lead to eyes-on-ads) continues, it’s easy to see why print has lagged.

Auto-optimisation, accurate targeting and immediate statistics for success are really the instant gratification all advertisers want and need.

Chris Donnelly, Founder & CEO, Verb Brands

No one reads the papers for the ads. And how many TV ‘viewers’ are actually boiling the kettle in the ad break? Going into 2020, with various political uncertainties casting shadows on global business, marketers are increasingly putting their spend where they can see ROI which – increasingly – is online. On one hand, it makes sense to pursue attribution, not affinity. Yet ‘building relationships’ as we euphemistically call it, can’t ignore the power of brand building. As consumers spend longer online, especially on the smaller screens of mobile, brands should ensure they’re raising their profile and getting themselves seen, as well as selling. It’s clear, and has been for years, that digital offers metrics for both.

Looking to the future – despite smaller predicted spend, brands can’t expect a last click if they aren’t stimulating the first. So TV (in all forms) isn’t going anywhere soon and neither is print, but both are having to work harder to fit fully considered digital marketing strategies that match the reality of the modern, savvy, online consumer.

These new predictions won’t surprise anyone – but they should at the very least focus discussion on what matters to shoppers and when it matters to them. All else is noise.

Christian Polman, CSO, Ebiquity

Social media has been around since the early 2000s. Despite this, brands often continue to approach social media as a ‘new-shiny-thing’, leaving some of them either overinvested or not approaching this medium in a way that drives marketing effectiveness.

Brands should pay attention to how they’re activating their brand messaging by approaching it as a unique medium in their marketing armoury. In social media, the gap between what works and what doesn’t is even wider, with creativity and content – and the approach to customer experiences – playing even bigger roles in capturing attention and driving engagement. Yet many brands are still not approaching digital in a way that’s fit-for-purpose. For example, in many digital customer experiences, consumers still have to jump through far too many hoops on average to reach their desired destination, and roughly 40% of creative running on Facebook hasn’t been optimized to work in their environment.

With brand investments in social media having reached critical scale, now is a good time for brands to step back and reflect on the role of social in their overall mix, whether it’s delivering tangible business outcomes, and how to approach it in a way that drives effectiveness and tangible results. The underlying goal should be to build experiences consumers want, activated with the right creative and brand messaging, and as Raja Rajamannar of Mastercard says, to move beyond story-telling to story-making.

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