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New Ad Formats Shift Top Branding Budgets from TV To Digital

Digital marketing reality check: Television still commands 57.6% of media spend while internet advertising clocks in at a mere 4.5%.

What gives? Has the Silicon Valley hype machine tricked us all into chasing shiny new social ads to no avail?

Not quite. While TV networks are still raking in a hefty piece of the advertising pie, the allure of digital is quickly tipping the scale. Global display advertising grew by 32.4% in 2013 –outpacing all media channels by far—including TV with just a 4.3% increase in ad spend.

Why are brands shifting to digital now? Internet ad behemoths like Google, Twitter, and Facebook are waiting with open arms on two fronts: The battle to win the “second screen” consumer and the race to bring brand advertising to digital.

First, brands are racing to cash in on the “second screen” consumer.

The “second screen” concept is easy: Consumers are watching content on one screen, typically TV, while engaging with related content on a secondary device, like a smartphone or tablet.  Second screen behavior is increasingly common as IAB reported, 52% of consumers with a TV and computer are “somewhat likely” or “very likely” to use another device while watching TV.

Media producers, advertisers, and agencies alike are eager to buy into the trend as second screen impact is significant beyond volume: Viewers using social media while watching TV elicited a 1.3 times higher emotional engagement than TV viewers sans social media.

Twitter was quick to accommodate, making its move in TV advertising packages with the acquisition of Bluefin Labs in May 2013.  At the time, Twitter TV ad targeting was a “limited beta to selected partners running national commercials in the U.S.” In other words, this package allowed advertisers to complement their TV buy with a Promoted Tweets campaign.

Now, Twitter advertisers can market to TV viewers without investing a single penny in commercials. With the launch of TV conversation targeting this past November, advertisers can simply reach Twitter users segmented by TV show without any TV ad commitment. That’s a pretty solid plan to claim a slice of the $70+ billion dollar TV advertising market

Of course, we can’t forget Facebook’s plan to woo the 75% of U.S senior executives that plan to shift their budgeting from TV to digital video ads this year. Facebook’s launch of auto-play news feed video ads in December will surely contend for a large portion of the expected $4.15 billion in online video ad spend this year.

Not to mention, sheer audience size may be enough to sway brands from traditional TV spend. As Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg explains, Facebook’s traffic is three times Super Bowl viewership, “and it happens every day.”

Second, digital ad platforms are eager to lure big spenders with the adoption of brand advertising metrics.

Until recently, performance advertising drove the bulk of digital marketing. Now, Google’s new ad deal with comScore promises to lure top brand awareness advertisers by incorporating Validated Campaign Essentials (vCE) measurement in the DoubleClick ad exchange.

As comScore explains, vCE brings a holistic brand performance measurement beyond the standard digital “impression” by reporting across “a variety of dimensions, such as ad delivered in-view, in the right geography, in a brand safe environment and absent of non-human traffic.”

These metrics make for a better apples-to-apples comparison of TV branding metrics to which top advertisers are accustomed, which will be necessary in winning the biggest budgets for digital.

Bottom line: Take advantage of the comparatively cheap online ads market now.

If you think digital marketing is saturated now, just imagine the landscape you’ll be facing when online budgets begin to rival TV spend in pursuit of the second screen viewer. Winning a piece of the earned and owned online media now will save you a significant amount of paid advertising dollars in the near future.  Whether you handle PPC campaign management in-house or your SEM agency team shoulders the burden, make sure your current strategy is constantly evolving along with new ad formats that best support your brand initiatives.

Want a second opinion on your paid search & display strategy? Sign up for a complimentary PPC campaign management consultation with our team.