The uncomfortable truth about brand advertising revealed in upcoming report

The truth about brand advertising

Marketers are spending ever increasing sums on digital advertising in order to increase brand salience and brand affinity, including $30bn spent on digital video alone in the US this year.

As brand marketing budgets continue shift from offline media to digital channels, questions are raised about the efficacy of new channels and formats.

Over a hundred years ago, John Wanamaker famously stated “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, I just don’t know which half.” But is this still true today? Has the promise of more attributable, efficient advertising spend been realised, or are most of us still spending with care and abandon, hoping for success?

For the last few months, Wistia has been working with The Drum to find out the answer to these questions – asking brands and agencies about their approaches to brand advertising, to determine what people are buying and how they are measuring success.

Next month, we will be releasing a report which reveals striking findings about how well brand advertising is working, and how brands across the US and EMEA are approaching this new landscape.

It shows that despite a wholesale shift the in the way ads are distributed, the way in which businesses measure brand advertising hasn’t really changed. This disconnect is masking profound ineffectiveness, which both media agencies and tech giants alike are disincentivized to be honest about.

Our data shows that more than half of marketers are continuing to invest in brand advertising without any proof of tangible return, and those that are able to quantify a return on investment are doing so with traditional metrics poorly suited to the digital advertising environment.

It reveals a world in which vast sums of money are being transferred to Google and Facebook (60% of overall spend), despite little to no trust in the accuracy and value of the metrics provided by these advertising platforms.

Despite marketers recognising that they are asking tech giants to mark their own homework, they seem to have nothing better to go on. John Wanamaker’s adage remains true today as half of our interviewees recognise that most of their brand advertising spend is probably wasted. Businesses are nevertheless continuing to invest huge sums in it, with 64% saying this is because it’s an established tactic and they are not sure where their marketing budgets would be better allocated.

With these startling and depressing results, is it finally time to consider the unthinkable conclusion all media agencies and platforms are desperate to obfuscate – that perhaps there is a better way to build a brand than spending money on advertising.

The full report will be released on The Drum on 21 January.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.