Media Mix Challenges weigh Heavy on Marketers in increasingly Digital Landscape.

21709Advertising agencies are increasingly concerned with how to best utilize media mix, according to STRATA’s most recent quarterly survey. Twenty-two percent of agencies surveyed indicated that media mix was a challenge. Tellingly, 76% of those polled advertise using at least three mediums per client campaign, indicating the need for multi-platform advertising.

The STRATA survey of nearly 100 media buying agencies in the fourth quarter also shows the largest concern in 2013 is attracting new clients, with nearly one third of respondents citing the challenge.

Marketers expect digital spending to continue its upward trajectory. Currently, 54% percent of surveyed agencies say their clients are most interested in advertising on TV above all other mediums. Digital comes in second at 30%. However, digital may eclipse traditional advertising in the near future, with nearly one third of respondents expecting to spend more on digital than on traditional media within 1-3 years. Within the digital subcategories, over 80% of those polled said online display would be their focus followed by search at 71%, and social media at 52%.

“New advertising mediums are evolving at an unprecedented pace, and agencies are constantly trying to figure out how to get the best return on investment for their campaigns. It makes sense that understanding how to attain the best possible media mix could be a very real challenge today,” said John Shelton, CEO and President of STRATA.

2013 Outlook Uncertain

Half the agencies polled expect their growth in the first half of 2013 to be the same as the last half of 2012. Only 37% of agencies saw their business increase at the end of 2012 compared to a year ago. This marks an 18% reduction from the end of 2011. Furthermore, nearly a quarter of the agencies polled see their business decreasing, a 36% increase from the fourth quarter of 2011.

“There’s a clear split in the advertising community as to how much growth we’ll see in 2013 after the political spending of 2012 has come to an end,” added Shelton. “The orders we have seen recently gave us confidence that we would see a 3-5% increase in spending this year, but the positive sentiment may not be shared by all advertisers.”

However, nearly a third of agencies said they expect their business (and the economy) to return to a strong growth period by mid-2013, and 22% answered that they are already in a strong growth period. Similarly, 29% plan on hiring, the highest percentage in nearly a year.

Additional Points:

Focus on Spot TV and Spot Radio continues to decline in 2013, with 17% of respondents indicating that their clients are more interested in advertising on Spot TV than they were last year (down 40% from 4Q11). 32% are less interested in advertising on Spot Radio than they were a year ago.

DVR time shifting is still a moderate concern for 40% of respondents (down 15% from 3Q12).

23% of agencies say they are less interested in Out Of Home advertising than they were a year ago (second largest percentage in the last nine quarters).

Sixty percent of advertisers are less interested in print than they were a year ago, marking the second worst percentage in the last ten quarters.

Advertisers expect to see 2013 trend toward an increase in digital adverting (78% of respondents), and a reduction in print advertising (40% of respondents).

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