Advertising Shifts in a Digital Reality – Are Your Marketing Dollars Being Spent Wisely?

Marketers worldwide are beginning to change their mindset about how to allocate advertising budgets, with ‘owned and earned’ digital media attracting greater attention.

The genesis and proliferation of the internet, Google and social media seems to be causing changes in every connected industry either directly or indirectly. Some sectors are being affected more than others, and this is particularly true in advertising.

With almost every update to Google’s search algorithms, agile advertising and marketing firms rapidly adapt in order to stay relevant. Demonstrating this effect, a February report from the Society of Digital Agencies highlights the changes that have become a priority for businesses this year.

According to the study, which surveyed both B2B and B2C companies, their marketing strategy and budgets, digital marketers worldwide are investing more of their budget online in 2012. One third expect to invest 60 percent of their budget digitally.

The break-down:

  • 25% surveyed respondents plan to significantly increase digital owned and earned media spend
  • 8% planned to increase paid digital media advertising
  • 4% planned to increase traditional advertising spend

The shift towards owned and earned digital media reflects a realisation by digital marketers that the competitive success of a company today relies heavily on a brand’s visibility and reputation online, and that even offline, the internet can have a resounding effect on a brand. This is caused by the prevalence and popularity of social media networks increasing the degree and speed of communication, as well as the increasing weight given to producing trust-building content in the form of instructional information, editorial, audio and video.

The Media Pad

Agile digital media agencies should have demonstrable expertise in social and content media.

“For a lot of advertisers, social is actually the bridge of their understanding between the traditional world and the digital space,” Senior Vice President of Strategic Services at Zeta Interactive, Michael McVeigh told eMarketer. “Social is where brands start to see how many people they have reached throughout their network.”

The influence of social media has become so powerful that it is even causing some businesses to rethink organisational structure, with 73 percent of client-side marketers worldwide saying they are transforming the structure of their marketing departments. Of which, 45.8 percent are creating cross-departmental groups in order to improve social media monitoring and other social obtained insights. A third say they have specifically integrated social listening with their traditional research departments.

These findings complement the idea that an effective social media strategy can not only bolster a brand’s image, but also improve efficiencies in communicating internally and with supply partners as well.

For some organisations however, significantly increasing the amount of resources allocated to digitally owned and earned media is not always possible. Start ups and small-medium businesses can sink or swim based solely on their online brand perception, however they may not have the funds necessary to employ dedicated staff in this area. Marketing agencies are an option, but then they too can be cost prohibitive and there are still many agencies that are not agile enough when it comes to social matters.

The predicted trend is that an increasing number of businesses will turn to specialist digital owned and earned media agencies or consultants to outsource their social media strategy and digital content creation to. For those businesses seeking to enlist the aid of such players, it is advised that they consider only groups that have demonstrable expertise in this space and are committed to adapting as the volatile world of the internet requires.

Have you carefully considered where your advertising dollars are being spent this year? While the statistics show that organisations are becoming acutely aware of social media, this hasn’t diminished the necessity for digital and traditional paid media also. As the internet continues to evolve, so too will successful business strategies, however the companies that are truly successful will be the ones that can present the most integrated approach across all media channels, both online and offline.

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