Print Advertising v Social Media Advertising
February 26, 2019
Research by Reach Indicates Print Advertising Revenue Recently Increased Against Social Media Advertising Decreasing
The UK advertising spend is currently around £20 billion per year. Print claims to have seen growth and this has prompted the BBC to interview me on the facts. Especially whether Print Advertising has grown at the expense of social media advertising.
The following are my preparation notes in the run up to the interview on BBC WM on February 26th 2019.
My first thought is that the figures quoted are based on research by Reach which is owned by two newspaper groups. More independent (?) research, by the Ad Association, indicates that overall ad spend has grown year on year for several years making the UK one of the most important ad markets in the developed world. In that time we’ve seen growth in radio ads (12.5%), internet ads (10,8%), TV ads (5%) etc. However other sources show radio only growing by 4,5%. So the figures show a growth trend but its hard to see any commonality after that.
Similarities between Print Advertising & Social Media Advertising
Both print and social media ads are forms of intrusive advertising. Very few people go onto Facebook or Linkedin looking for adverts. They are social media and people mainly go there to socialise in some form or other. Even on LinkedIn, which is perhaps more business focused, we find that being social, or recognised, is more common than pure business applications.
The situation is similar in newspapers in that most people read a paper to get the news . However there is a long tradition of papers carrying adverts and this has meant large sections on things like car and property ads. So, most people expect some ads and some buy a paper specifically for them.
Is The Increase in Print Advertising a Trend Or Blip?
I think it might be too early to say that there is a definite increase in print advertising that is going to become a trend. One swallow doesn’t make a summer.
And the growth figure provided by Reach indicates a growth of 1% against a 22% decline since 2010.
Maybe the figures are the industries comfort blanket and designed to stop sleepless nights and prompt advertisers to return to print.
What is clear is that many predictions from the past have not materialised. Remember how it was predicted that video meant the end of cinemas. today cinemas has seen a renaissance and videos are old technology. We were also told that digital was killing the sale of printed books. What we’ve seen is an increase in total book sales, a decrease in authors income due to online incomes being a smaller and an increase in the number of independent bookshops
No one predicted that!
We also heard that as newspaper sales dropped so would advertising revenues. My experience is that this has meant more newspaper ads being run with the ads costing less than they used to. It’s become a buyers’ market. Advertisers have lots of options, newspapers don’t.
Is Social Media Advertising Still Effective?
Social media and other forms of online advertising are still effective. But as demand has risen so has the cost. In effect it is a sellers market.
Big companies have increased their spend on social media advertising for a number of years. But this has been partly because the public has spent more an more time online. Especially on sites like Facebook.
When I first started running Facebook ad campaigns for my clients I could sometimes get a prospect to click on an ad and go to my clients website for less than a penny. Today that is the stuff of dreams. Advertising on sites like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter etc is now much more expensive.
What Do Advertisers Look For When Advertising?
The social media world is awash with likes, shares, going viral and more. But you can’t pay shareholders with likes. Likes don’t provide shareholder value. Certainly they are a step along the route to a sale but thats all they are…. a step.
What advertisers want in most cases are sales. And on occasion they want brand recognition as they believe that leads to sales longer term.
And if an advert on social media moves someone to buy, and that can be tracked, there is a measurable Return on Investment (ROI). But often the route from social media advert to sale is a long and tortuous sales funnel.
A print advert is frequently a simpler route from advert to sale. For some reason people that use social media ads seem to often build more complex sales funnels than those that advertise in print.
Whichever you use its important to measure each step of the process and to keep it as simple as possible.
It’s also important to have clear objectives from the outset. And sometimes it is harder to sell a product than to provide,
So Where Are The Advertising £s Being Spent?
Under the global banner of Internet ads we have a number of places where spend can go. We all know about the money some brands spend on their Christmas ad. This is then pushed hard on TV, and in print. It’s also pushed very hard online, Getting the ad on YouTube is vital at Christmas. And that costs money. In the commercial world viral rarely happens without a lot of money to help it.
And video has become a very important place to advertise throughout the year.
We are also seeing big brands use programmatic advertising. This is where ads are not run just on Facebook, Twitter etc but are automatically swapped from platform to platform in real time as the ROI dictates. So one second they are on a newspaper site and the next on Facebook, then it might be on a local plumber’s site. Programmatic is very flexible and gives an improved ROP if used correctly.
What Type of Advert Gives the Best ROI?
What many advertisers are realising is that pure sales ads aren’t working as well as they used to. Relationship ads work better longer term.
There are three types of advert:-
- Brand Ads
- Sales Ads
- Relationship Building Ads
Brand ads promote the brand and sel nothing at all in the short term.
Sales ads aim to sell a product or service immediately. Eg Buy our new breakfast cereal/cosmetic/coffee etc now (or as soon as you are near our shop or website, It might make a single sale and that’s it.
Relationship ads try to build rapport with you and get your trust. For example years ago I had a garage ask me to run ads to sell their cars. The ROI was never going to be great as the ads in the paper would be seen by thousands of people that didnt want a new car.
But what these people had in common was a wish to cut motoring costs or be greener.
So we wrote and promoted a booklet that helped with that. People saw the ad and went online to download the book. They gave their email or physical address and we sent it to them. We also promised to keep them up to date with anything else that was related to their interest in lower cost, greener motoring. This gave us permission to send them occasional details of relevant cars and technology. Longer term it sold more cars than a sales ad.
Today we need to be cognisant of GDPR but this tactic is still very good and works a treat.
Are There Alternatives To Advertising (& Especially Print Advertising)?
Yes, many alternatives to advertising exist.
Good content on a website is one way to realise long term sales.
For example people looking for more info on the three types of advertising I mention above might Google that term. In which case there is a very high likelihood that they will find my web content on Page One of Google.
Try it. Google Three Types of Advertising.
Do you see my book or website at the top of around ONE BILLION results.
It’s cost me nothing for this to happen. I have however had to write good content and use basic SEO to make this happen. But I’ve beaten the businesses with £millions to spend.
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