When will Digital Media take over from television as the number one medium of choice by marketers?
According to the MediaPost news item, Digital Approaches Tipping Point, Narrows Ad Agency Gap To Just One, published today, we are on the cusp of this dramatic shift... right here, right now: "For the first time since being tracked, digital media - including online, social and mobile - has approached parity with television as the most important medium among agency executives, according to the latest quarterly survey from Strata, the media data processing provider that services roughly half of all U.S. ad agencies. Asked what their No. 1 medium of choice was during the third quarter of 2011, 34% of agency executives cited digital, only one point lower than the 35% who cited local TV. That's the closest point of parity in the three years since Strata began querying its agency clients on the dominance of various media in their workflow and budgeting, and represents a 43% leap from the second quarter of 2011."
Remember: advertising flows along with consumer behavior.
While none of this news should come as a shock to anyone, it's amazing to think about how nascent, decentralized and fragmented digital media still is. The article goes on to say: "There hasn't been a huge disparity between digital and TV since Strata started the survey in 2008, but the margin has steadily decreased quarter over quarter... 'in 2008, 60% of respondents indicated that TV was a top focus, with digital at 12%." Yes, some of the logic is that digital media is cheaper (including the fact that you can, usually, get much more impressions in many more places online than a traditional advertising spend) and that a lot of this sudden growth could be attributed to a tougher economy. This means that brands are actually reducing or holding steady with their advertising spends, so the digital media pie accounts for more, or dollars are shifted to digital to achieve a more "bang for your buck" strategy.
I've said it before, I'll say it again.
Digital Media is a new media. The opportunity to push beyond advertising has to be panacea. Benchmarking the Internet against TV in terms of advertising should not be the goal. I'd prefer it if we were benchmarking the Internet (and yes, I'm fine including Social Media, mobile and touch in here) against electricity. As a new opportunity and new horizon for marketing opportunities, the ideal position would be that Digital Media becomes pervasive and ubiquitous like electricity.
That's more exciting than being the number one medium of choice by marketers. That's when marketing will get really interesting.