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Future of Media Media

Future of Media: Budgets are back, P&G's digital plan, media quality research


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

October 21, 2021 | 7 min read

First, be sure to check out our Globalization Deep Dive, where we explore the biggest issues facing global marketers. Next, a reminder that we’re gearing up our Cop26 coverage and will be on the ground in Glasgow – if you’re there, let us know.


Future of Media: Budgets are back, P&G's digital plan, media quality research

Ad budgets

UK ad budgets have hit their highest levels in four years. Budgets tend to incrementally grow annually so we’re catching up for lost time. The IPA surveyed 300 UK marketers – 12.8% will see greater budgets, the same will see cuts. 25.6% outspent their budgets.

I have one concern. Out-of-home was the only main media category to record a budget cut, 11.9% of firms that reduced OOH spend outweighing the 9.9% that revised upwards. What’s going on there [DM me]? Are we going back into lockdown? Latvia re-entered lockdown earlier this week and in the UK this week we’ve seen the highest deaths since March.

More digital at P&G

Santa’s lost a few elves this Christmas – there are supply chain concerns ahead. We’ve covered these. We know what happens to marketing spend when retailers and service providers can’t fulfill orders. Just look to the first lockdown.

So, P&G is now putting even more spend into digital advertising – it can be turned on and off almost at will. Creative can be switched up or switched out with little labor compared to some analogue means. With rising costs all through its supply chains, it is the media where P&G thinks its first-party data can help it make the most gains.

Chief financial officer Andre Schulten said: “The more efficient and effective we can make our spend be, the more attractive it becomes to make those investments. In an odd way, efficiency breeds effectiveness and effectiveness breeds spending and that drives the market.“

In the year to June 2021, spend was up 12% to $8.2bn (£6bn) and it’ll be looking to get more use out of its “optimized targeting pool” to better that further.

Quality media environment

Two reports came in regarding media quality.

The first from Newsworks highlights the return in investment from long-term news advertising. The body representing the news industry got Benchmarking, a division of Omnicom Media Group, to analyze some 1,012 statistical economic models built over the past decade to detail the benefits of the news environment. The brands that spent (the correct proportion of their budget) in news saw a 10% profits increase over the last three years. Yes, ’correct’ is the tough bit to get right. And yes, I could have done with a deeper look at the mechanics of the research – but I don’t doubt the findings. In fact, 10% seems like a low ROI. The news business needs only point to ad fraud and trash content in the long-tail and the eye-melting filth monetized on user-generated content sites. Well, that’s a reporter’s opinion anyway.

Next is from Integral Ad Science. The brand safety site noticed a rise of hate speech in 2021 H1 across the web.

Although the UK had the lowest levels of brand risk on desktop video compared to all other markets, it observed a rise in “hate speech across desktop video increased 13.4 percentage points from 2% to 15.4% in H1 2021.”

Nick Morley, managing director EMEA at Integral Ad Science, said: “The distinct reduction in brand risk this year suggests that industry stability is resuming.”

Also in the UK, it appears our patience for ads fell greatly judging by view times. “Video ads were in view for 18.1 seconds in H1 2021, having decreased from 24.5 in the same period the previous year.”

That might just be that we all saw more ads from the comfort of our homes (yes YouTube, I know you have a premium tier).

Meet the Media Minds

In the hot seat this week is Garrett O’Reilly, managing director of Hearts & Science UK. He’s excited by the unexplored frontiers of the metaverse and more pertinently what a media plan looks like in that space.

His advance for new starts in the media space is simply to “keep going” – advice passed to him by Nick Kendall when he was head of planning at BBH.

Read it here.

Or read the last Future of Media briefing.

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