Enthusiasm for Digital Ads Is Cooling Down

By Patrick Coffee 


Depending on where you work and how old you are, trends in digital/social advertising may be either your stock in trade or the biggest thorn in your side.

According to the always-reliable Market Research, however, the loud victory march of the Ninjas and their allies the Gurus isn’t quite as triumphant as one might think.


In fact, multiple reports show the shift from Old School to New slowing in some respects.

Over the weekend, G. David Dodd of B2B Marketing Directions shared two pieces of research that we’d missed. First, the annual Duke University/McKinsey CMO survey, released back in February, revealed a contradictory trend:

  • CMOs see digital marketing spends decreasing and traditional ad spends increasing very slightly throughout the remainder of 2014

CMO graphic

In the 2014 report from SoDA (the Society of Digital Agencies), the number of client-side marketers who fueled the growth in their digital budgets by decreasing their traditional ad spends went down despite the fact that digital spending continues to rise on the whole.

SoDA visual

There’s more: analyst David Bank of RBC Capital Markets recently said that online video ads won’t truly threaten the dominance of traditional TV spots anytime soon because the market “is big enough to support growth in digital and traditional video ad sales.”

Bank also wrote that strictly digital stuff tends to be a bit…lacking when it comes to quality.

“Only about 16% of its inventory accompanies content that Bank considers ‘premium,’ meaning that it would be suitable for a network TV advertiser.”

In short, your old TV advertising will be fine, no matter how many self-appointed thought leaders use the word “disrupt” to claim otherwise.

At the same time: most participants in the Duke survey predict that social will continue to occupy a progressively larger share of marketing budgets. The number of in-house hires who specialize in social won’t stop increasing either, so the trend will continue to annoy even as it fails to achieve its goal of displacing TV.

CMO survey2

But we already knew this, didn’t we?