Digiday+ Research: Significant gap between agency confidence in TV advertising — and what they actually spend on it

In today’s marketing environment, TV advertising might not always get as much attention as its digital and social media counterparts. But despite that, agencies’ confidence in TV’s success as a marketing channel has actually grown over the last six months — even if their ad spend doesn’t show it.

This is according to a survey of 90 brand and agency professionals conducted by Digiday+ Research in the third quarter.

Firstly, Digiday’s survey found that brands’ ad spend and confidence in TV do line up: Slightly more than a third (35%) of brand pros said they are confident or very confident that TV drives marketing success, while slightly less than a third (31%) said they spend a large or very large portion of their marketing budgets on TV advertising.

However, the same cannot be said of agencies.

Digiday’s survey revealed that confidence among agency pros that TV drives marketing success is actually higher than among brands: 40% of agency respondents said they’re confident or very confident that TV drives marketing success. But only a quarter (25%) of agency respondents said their clients spend a large or very large portion of their marketing budgets on TV advertising.

This could be a result of agencies working to diversify their clients’ marketing spend more so than brands who handle their own marketing budgets. However, this pattern also appeared when we looked at how agencies allocate marketing spend for their clients on Google and on Amazon and other retail sites, compared with their confidence in the channels.

What makes Digiday’s survey results pertaining to TV particularly puzzling is how agencies’ responses to the Q3 survey compare to an earlier version of the survey that asked the same questions in Q1.

Specifically, 34% of agency pros said six months ago that they’re confident that TV drives marketing success for their clients — a percentage that rose to 40% in Q3. Meanwhile, the percentage of agencies who said their clients spend a large amount of their marketing budgets on TV actually fell slightly: from 29% in Q1 to 25% in Q2.

On the other hand, brands’ spending on TV versus their confidence in the marketing success of TV remained fairly flat over the last six months.


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