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Digital Advertising is Being Clobbered by Traditional Media

August 23, 2010
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LONDON—Against all odds, traditional advertising is perceived by consumers as more informative, entertaining and necessary than online advertising. Of more than 1,200 people surveyed for digital marketing show ad:tech London by Zussi Research, 69 percent believed traditional advertising was relevant to them, compared with 45 percent for online. For the TV target audience—those aged between 25-34-years old—the gap widens further: 81 percent (traditional) vs. 53 percent (online).

Worse still for digital marketers, annoyance around advertising on the Web is twice as high online as offline. Comments made were that digital advertising is "ill-structured," "mainly irrelevant" and represents a bigger, unwanted distraction for the consumer, rather than a subtle influence.

Typical comments included: "Traditional advertising is less in your face - online seems to use all kinds of annoying tricks to make you view them, eg popups and blank screen links you click by accident. It's an immediate turn-off."

Why is this happening?

ad:tech conference and marketing director, Christophe Asselin, says that customers aren't responding positively the way that the industry believes. "While we are witnessing some amazing online campaigns out there, this research simply shows that the overall advertising and marketing community isn't hitting the mark with online users.

"Customers are becoming more and more savvy to online marketing tactics and are less forgiving toward sloppy and clumsy practices mainly adapted from the old mass media communication model. Just because online is cheaper and quicker to implement, doesn't mean you can afford to throw away its huge potential," added Asselin.

"There are many opportunities for digital advertising to be far more engaging, relevant and pertinent than traditional media. Education and greater skills are desperately needed to unleash the full power of digital if we want leave up to our users' expectations," Asselin says.

ad:tech speaker and BBC head of technology for marketing, communications and audiences, Mark Kelleher, says: "Given the changing behaviour of the public with the advent of multimedia, online promotions could hold huge potential value but many organisations aren't unleashing this potential effectively."

So how companies can get it right?

In parallel to the consumer study, ad:tech London also surveyed brand advertisers and marketers who attended the show in 2009. 633 surveys were completed.

One interesting aspect was how unconfident respondents were. When asked to describe a topic to a colleague many said they were "aware but not confident" of the subject. Surprisingly, these included social marketing, mobile marketing and search engine marketing. Only 23 percent would regard themselves as digital marketing experts.
 
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Most Recent Comments:
Carol Arnold - Posted on August 25, 2010
My personal experience certainly confirms the results stated in this article. I believe that we can also draw a parallel for prospecting with traditional direct mail vs. email. Utilizing email to maintain communications with an existing base within your house file can be very effective. However when you expand this practice by prospecting to a rented list, the message tends to not be perceived as well. Only a small percentage get actually opened and viewed, and many of those might be considered SPAM, with the same annoyance directed at the online ads cited in the article. As more tests come in I think that we will find that traditional postal messages sent to targeted mailing lists will be the winner. We offer both postal and email list rental for pospecting at ListAbility. Most of our clients have experienced better ROI on their postal campaigns
Dave - Posted on August 24, 2010
I think one of the reasons that online advertising has been poor for so long is that there is a fanatical focus on the pricing of the ads with the advent of bid tools, ad exchanges, dsps, etc. Many of the leaders of the industry are spending their time with math models figuring our how to buy traffic more efficiently, as opposed to how to merchandise their products and services to their target audience. It is a real shame and something we are trying to address at our company DataPop. Dave Schwartz http://www.datapop.com
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Archived Comments:
Carol Arnold - Posted on August 25, 2010
My personal experience certainly confirms the results stated in this article. I believe that we can also draw a parallel for prospecting with traditional direct mail vs. email. Utilizing email to maintain communications with an existing base within your house file can be very effective. However when you expand this practice by prospecting to a rented list, the message tends to not be perceived as well. Only a small percentage get actually opened and viewed, and many of those might be considered SPAM, with the same annoyance directed at the online ads cited in the article. As more tests come in I think that we will find that traditional postal messages sent to targeted mailing lists will be the winner. We offer both postal and email list rental for pospecting at ListAbility. Most of our clients have experienced better ROI on their postal campaigns
Dave - Posted on August 24, 2010
I think one of the reasons that online advertising has been poor for so long is that there is a fanatical focus on the pricing of the ads with the advent of bid tools, ad exchanges, dsps, etc. Many of the leaders of the industry are spending their time with math models figuring our how to buy traffic more efficiently, as opposed to how to merchandise their products and services to their target audience. It is a real shame and something we are trying to address at our company DataPop. Dave Schwartz http://www.datapop.com