Posted April 1, 2011 5:11 pm by with 2 comments

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookBuffer this page

Internet ad spending is on the rise, but according to those statistical geniuses at eMarketer, the rise isn’t equal to the rise in actual internet usage.

What they did was look at the amount of time the average adult spends watching TV, reading the paper, surfing on the internet, etc. Then they matched those percentages to the percentage of the overall ad spending dollars by category.

Here’s what they got.

As you can see, people spend most of their media time watching television. By a strange coincidence, the percentage of ad dollars spent on TV is nearly identical. Pretty neat. But after that, things get funky.

Internet consumption for the average person (which would not be me) is 25.2% but ad spending is only 18.7%. Mobile is way underfunded compared to usage. It’s so underfunded that it shows up only as a thin line on the graph.

So where is the extra money going? To newspapers and magazines that no one is reading. Look at the gap. Combined, you’ve got less than 10% usage but more than 26% of the ad spending pot.

eMarketer CEO Geoff Ramsey said;

“Those of us focused on the internet channel have complained for years that it hasn’t been getting its fair share of media dollars based on time spent.  However, the precise extent of that imbalance has been shrouded in mystery and exaggeration. Now we know—it’s a gap of 6.5 percentage points.”

Now we know indeed, but will the knowledge do us any good? Are advertisers still pouring money into magazines and newspapers because it’s the way it’s always been done? Are we that afraid of change that we can’t see money going down the drain? Spending the most money where the people spend the most time makes sense, but is it really that simple? Probably not.

Certainly there are behavioral factors involved. Are people more likely to act on an ad they see in a magazine than one they see online? If that’s true (and I’m not saying it is), then it makes sense to target readers overs surfers. I suppose it also depends on what it is your advertising. A political memoir might do better as a full page ad in the Sunday New York Times where an ad for a trendy music CD might fair better on the web.

I imagine there will come a time when ad spending for print media will drop below that of the Internet. When that happens, we’ll likely be sitting here wondering why mobile ad spending is still so light. Don’t people know that internet ad spending is old school! It’s all about the holograms! That’s the future of marketing.

  • It will only take one company and the rest will follow. The Mobile is the big stat you pointed out, that was very surprising to be so low when you consider how popular apps are, you’d naturally think that companies are already bumping up their mobile advertising (at least for the next few yrs until something bigger/better pops up).

  • Kevin

    Newspapers seem like overspend, but media like magazine ads are far more attention grabbing than internet/mobile ads. It can be argued that more ads will be actually be seen even though they spend less time reading it.

    You can try to target affluent audience in Google or Facebook, but chances are they’ll get filtered by selective attention. On the other hand, you can buy an entire page in a magazine, so it’s impossible to miss even if they don’t read into the details.