Digital Pulse: Ad Budgets Evaporate as Earned and Owned Media Grow

Budgets shift from traditional to digital media

Many marketers have been shifting their ad budgets to digital media. The move usually comes as a way to also reduce spending by building efficiencies into the overall program.

According to a new survey of about 600 marketers, agencies, technologists and digital industry insiders, that ratio is $1-to-0.20. The survey was conducted by the Society of Digital Agencies in partnership with Econsultancy. [hat tip Greg Sterling]

Earned and Owned Media

Content development + measurement top list of needs

Some of the key findings, which SoDA included in their 2012 Report:

  • digital marketing spending continues to grow steadily
  • budgets are shifting from traditional to earned media
  • organizations continue to make investment in owned media
  • brands are integrating more compelling forms of storytelling: video, sponsorships, and branded content
  • there is also a shift in resources from relying heavily on agencies, to building competencies in house
  • inbound marketing is growing
  • the three top critical skills sought are: 1) blog copy writing and editing, 2) mobile application development, and 3) digital brand management and measurement
  • brands are diversifying the agency mix

While brands are revisiting the agency mix in search for greater accountability and support with content and measurement, agencies are looking to move upstream in the business strategy area.

SoDA2012_Execution to Strategy
Wearing the client side hat, getting the scope of work right, as well as recognizing the value and importance of planning and serendipity are critical to the relationship.

Getting the basics right

Recent major flops on the branding side — for example, the Netflix/Qwikster fiasco, and Bank of America’s poorly executed plan to charge additional debit card fees [hat tip Katy Schamberger] — flag the need to reinforce that getting the basics right is fundamental:

  • evaluate the business opportunity — are there challenges you can address?
  • build on the existing brand value — in the examples above, little thought was given to considering brand value and resonance
  • observe and listen to consumer behavior — where are your consumers on the early to late adoption curve?
  • understand the cultural context — social applications are ideal for delivering real time qualitative clues

The industries showing the most significant increase in digital marketing are retail, tourism, and financial services. This report is consisted with a recent Pew Research Center Study about Digital Advertising and News.

The report includes agency-authored articles and interviews with brand-side social media managers from Bloomber LP, Samsung, and The House of Remy Martin.


Organizations are also starting to shift marketing departments to add the skills that are critical to their success in digital.

How is your organization rethinking the marketing department? Are you fitting in the pieces, or are you still buying spare parts?

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