Monday, March 21, 2011

Why don't advertising budgets match audience behaviour?

For a very, very long time (more than ten years) I've been asking marketers and communicators in commercial and public sectors why they invest so heavily in producing and showing advertisements for channels which fewer and fewer people are watching and invest so little in the newer channels emerging.

In most advertising budgets there's still a massive amount for free-to-air television, moderate for radio and newspapers, a comparative small amount for online, cable or mobile advertising and virtually nothing for social media engagement.

Of course there's price differences - the cost of producing and screening a single television advertisement is far greater than that to produce and screen a web video for a month.

There's also a difference in how advertisements are developed. Television and radio are one-way mediums, with the focus on gaining attention and communicating a simple message in 1 minute or less - whereas cable advertising can be more interactive and online even more so (except for display advertising online, which doesn't have a good record of success in Australia).

The last few years of research on Australians have demonstrated that the internet is our number one medium, particularly for under 35s, however advertisers are still focusing their efforts on television - perhaps because that's what the older decision-makers watch.

This discrepancy has been brought home to me again by the Mumbrella piece, Natalie Tran: Bigger than free TV, on Natalie Tran, a 24 year old student on YouTube who, in the second week of March, received 876,106 views.

As Mumbrella pointed out,
If she’d been on free TV, she’d have been the 42nd biggest show of that week, based on OzTam’s data.

She had more viewers than Nine’s Customs (876,000), Sunday’s edition of ABC News (872,000), RPA (868,000), The Mentalist (863,000), RBT (856,000). And indeed Top Gear (818,000).

A couple more interesting figures comparing Top Gear's channel on YouTube with Natalie's Community Channel:
Top Gear’s YouTube channel uploads have delivered 193m views. Natalie Tran’s Community Channel channel 357m.

To Gear’s direct channel views – 15m; Community Channel, 47m.

Top Gear’s channel’s most viewed clip – 5.9m; Community Channel’s 34m. And no, I haven’t got the decimal point in the wrong place.
Surely it is time to begin shifting the budget a little further, and trialing out more interactive initiatives than Simply. More. Display. Advertising.

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