What Marketers Should Know as Ad Spend for Digital Tops Traditional Media

Maegan Buckler  | 

In news that surprises no one but impacts everyone navigating the twists and turns of an ever-evolving media landscape, digital ad spend is finally surpassing the dollars allocated to more traditional media such as linear TV, magazine and newspapers. According to the latest forecast from eMarketer, U.S. advertisers will spend $129.34 billion on digital ads in 2019, which represents a 19% increase over last year and more than half (54.2%) of the estimated total U.S. ad spend of $238.82 billion.

Video is the major driver of this burst of growth—and that video is being spread across far more platforms than just YouTube and Facebook. As marketers pursue these new opportunities, their ad strategies should be more holistic, integrated and representative of how consumers actually view video content. Let’s take a look at the biggest contributors to digital video’s growth as well as one way marketers are addressing the challenges that come with having to get more ads, in more formats, to more destinations than ever before.

Social and Streaming Leading the Video Ad Revolution
In 2019, U.S. digital video ad spending will grow by 21% to $36 billion, due in part to the Cinderella story that is connected television, which is netting stronger-than-expected video ad growth from video streamers Hulu and Roku and stealing video ad dollars from mobile. Social video is also becoming very popular with advertisers, with three in 10 social network ad dollars now going to video ads. Facebook and Instagram lead in this space, but the increase in social video advertising has especially benefited Twitter, which now earns the majority of revenue through video ad offerings such as promoted video, in-stream video and video sponsorships. For advertisers, the secret to success in these new ad arenas lies in creating content that is engaging enough in the first milliseconds to stop the scroll and make an immediate positive brand impression. That requires content created specifically for both the platform and the context the video ad will be seen in rather than just a recycling of ads created for other platforms like linear TV.

Amazon Chips Away at the Duopoly’s Dominance
While the dominance of the Google/Facebook duopoly isn’t in jeopardy yet, it’s worth noting that 2019 represents the first time that their shares of the digital ad pie will be smaller due to—what else?—the continuing ascendance of Amazon. The rapid rise of the ecommerce giant in the U.S. ad market isn’t unexpected given the vast troves of consumer data it has amassed, and the fact that many consumers now start product searches there rather than on Google. Amazon is making enough of a dent in the duopoly for U.S. advertisers to start seriously considering it as a contender and allocating more video ad dollars there.

The shift to digital doesn’t mean that traditional channels will be neglected in 2019. Ad spend for linear TV, in fact, continues to hold steady at around $70 billion despite not having the Olympics or World Cup programming to draw in viewers. What’s happening instead is that advertisers are beginning to examine more closely the ways they can effectively leverage both traditional and digital advertising. That’s part of a larger trend of convergence within the total marketing and advertising landscape.

Ongoing Convergence Puts Campaign Efficiency in the Spotlight
“Brands are continuing to break down the traditional marketing silos and think about customer experience first and foremost,” Sara Whiteleather, vice president of media at U.S.-based AMP Agency told eMarketer. “That applies to traditional vs. digital and paid vs. owned. They’re thinking holistically about how to reach consumers across all the different touchpoints in the full marketing ecosystem.”

With ads going to more destinations in more formats, marketers are fast becoming preoccupied with improving campaign efficiency. eMarketer cited an October 2018 survey by Xaxis that found more than half of senior digital marketing managers said improving the effectiveness of media spending is the top priority for 2019. Other priorities named include removing silos within the marketing function and adapting an integrated approach to creative asset management, rather than one that is channel-based. ER has been advocating for creative asset efficiency for the last decade as we have built out the AdBridgeTMplatform which is specifically designed for seamless execution of digital ad management and delivery.

For viewers, video convergence has already happened. Advertisers are catching up but for them to remain successful in a creative everywhere world, they’ll have to embrace multi-platform advertising strategies that enable them to reach viewers at every digital and linear touchpoint. Doing so with the efficiency that turns creative asset workflow into a competitive advantage requires the right creative asset management platform. Contact Extreme Reach to understand how AdBridge paves the way to success for brands and agencies no matter how complex and fragmented the media landscape becomes.

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