LONDON: Marketers have moved too far in the direction of digital platforms and at some point they will start to come back to more traditional media, according to the new managing director of News UK Commercial, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp business.
"I think there's probably been a bigger shift of money to some of those [online] platforms than there needed to have been," Dominic Carter told Business Insider. "But there will be a correction at some point. I'm not saying it will all tip back to newspapers, but it'll definitely change."
In saying that, he was echoing others, notably Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP.
Facebook has emerged as a potent rival for advertising revenue while at the same time developing a role as a partner through its Instant Articles product which enables newspaper stories to appear in the News Feeds of Facebook users.
Carter accepted that the social media giant worked for advertisers – "it's got cut-through, it's a fantastic, interesting business" – but added that it was only one business with a role to play like any other.
"What [marketers have] probably done is re-weighted [their] media probably too far [Facebook's] way than I think they should have," he said.
He contrasted the attention levels that a digital platform like Facebook commanded with those achieved by print media. North American users of Facebook, for example, spend an average of 45 minutes day on the site, but that's spread over maybe 40 visits. A reader of the Times, however, might spend 45 minutes in one session with a newspaper, whether read in print or on a tablet.
"That's a large amount of time doing a singular thing, and there has to be a value to that, rather than someone that's dipping in for two minutes at a time, and each time they come in they could be confronted with hundreds of new messages," said Carter.
The main problem is how to prove to advertisers the value of newspapers in the marketing mix.
Earlier this year, News UK's Project Footprint claimed to show how advertising to subscribers who access content behind a paywall drives higher levels of online and offline behaviour and action.
The Financial Times has also been exploring the sale of advertising based on "engaged time" – cost-per-hour currently represents 7% of impressions served by the FT.
But Carter suggested the industry needed to work together to develop a new common currency.
Data sourced from Business Insider; additional content by Warc staff