eMarketer’s recent projection that said US Digital Display Ad Spending will Surpass Search Ad Spending in 2016 , led me to think that finally Branding is being given the importance it deserves in digital media. If we analyze the sources of growth in eMarketer’s projection , these seem to support my assumption. Video, Sponsorships, and rich media grow 55% vs. display 32% vs. Search 38% between 2016 and 2019.
Today in Latin America, I feel that for the most part, many agencies are still stuck with the “burden” of proving that digital drives sales and therefore are focusing too much on performance or brandformance as they call it. Google and Facebook with their huge inventory (and inventory which they did not create and therefore is very cheap to them) help create the notion that only clicks are valuable since they only charge per clicks. Impressions have no value, unless someone has clicked on it. Of course, we don’t apply these metrics to traditional media (imagine charging for an outdoor ad by the number of direct responses it elicits). We launched Audio.Ad last year which sells digital audio spots. Many digital agencies are disappointed that listeners cannot click on the audio ad but an audio ad at least has many more metrics than traditional radio. You can segment by audience, track who heard your spot, and we only charge when someone has effectively listened to the entire spot. If there is a drop-off we know and can measure this. You obviously cannot do this in a normal radio spot, but in the meantime, their clients still spend plenty on traditional radio.
Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe in performance, but also feel that more agencies should consider digital as a viable means for branding. Today a lot of people spend most of their media time in digital media so if you only do performance in digital, most heavy internet users will not have seen any branding campaigns for your targeted brand.
The power of branding is simple to understand. Imagine you search for Hotels in a specific area. The results page gives you various options. You are much more likely to click on “Marriott” and “Hilton” than in “Victor Kong hotel”. So your performance campaign will work a lot better if you have also invested in brand building. It is obvious – all marketers know this.
I am glad that in the US, branding in digital seems to be growing. Hope Latin America follows suit.