It doesn’t seem possible that TV only managed to win the lion’s share of advertising revenues from the long dominance of newspaper and print media as recently as 1999.
But even more surprising is that TV is widely predicted to lose the media crown, after a reign of less than twenty years, to digital marketing propelled by digital’s jewel in that crown, native advertising.
According to Bloomberg, digital advertising will grow by 15% in 2015, to a massive $163 billion and taking 30% of ad spend. More dramatically, the media research arm of Interpublic Group, Magna Global, forecast that digital will reach an amazing 38% of global ad spend, equalling TV but on a growth trend that will have digital watching TV in its rear view mirror in no time at all.
Magna Global’s earlier predictions had seen TV holding out for longer, but the speed at which digital is grabbing budget has called for a major re-assessment. Much of this is down to the change of viewing habits, which have moved away from TV at home and are now firmly engaged with mobile content on the smartphone.
The individual figures give the new perspective; in 2014 there was a 72% increase in global mobile ad spend, while TV is barely keeping up with economic recovery; only a 3% growth was forecast for 2015 and 6% for 2016.
If that continues, and UK media research group ZenithOptimedia are predicting as high as 38% per year for digital growth in 2014-17, and there are going to be serious structural shifts in how advertisers reach their audience.
Of course, part of that growth is accounted for by the growth in the medium; smartphones have still to replace earlier generation phones in many markets but the process is speeding up, with fewer non-smartphones manufactured. So some plateauing is inevitable in the future, but not until mobile options can reach all users and link to all social media. It is, after all, only two years since Facebook started the change by introducing mobile formats, which makes the growth rates even more impressive.
Within digital, only native advertising really does away with the issue of screen size. There’s a lot of evidence that people have developed the ability to screen out display ads, which means resorting to dynamic devices such as explosive appearance or flashing images to attract attention; invasive and intrusive tactics that risk a negative reaction.
Native advertising, on the other hand, relies on the consumer opting-in to the content, attracted by relevance and topicality. It will be very interesting to see in 2019 – if the pundits are right in their predictions that digital will be nudging ahead of TV – just what percentage of that digital spend will be native ads and sponsored content.
The next five years in digital marketing are going to be incredibly exciting, with new formats appearing that can scale to any size of screen and populated by a new generation of creative content.