New research from the consultancy Ebiquity finds that major gaps still exist between marketers’ perceptions of media attributes and their effectiveness – facing into recession, understanding these gaps is more important than ever.

At a glance: In 2018, Ebiquity and Radiocentre’s initial Re-evaluating Media report sketched out the perceived advantages of typically digital media in meeting campaign objectives, and how they often diverged from reality. In 2020, those same ideas persist, but with current uncertainties and an economic slowdown, the risks from misplaced investments are far higher.

Method: The study is based on interviews with over 100 marketers and agency professionals who were asked to trade off between 12 different media attributes across a total of 12 evaluated media channels.

Most important attributes: “Five attributes stand out clearly as the most valuable for achieving success during uncertain times [among both agencies and brands]:

  • Increases brand salience;
  • Targets the right people in the right place at the right time;
  • Triggers a positive emotional response;
  • Increases campaign ROI;
  • Maximises campaign reach”.

The main shift has been the growth of brand salience, an “overdue acknowledgment” of salience and distinctiveness for the long-term health of brands, which Ebiquity finds even price-driven brands working a lot harder to achieve.

It shows how much e-commerce now matters: First, brands need more than ever to ensure that their name is what people type into search when they start researching.

The perception gap: “All traditional media are undervalued by advertisers and audiences relative to the evidence”, while new media are perceived to be far stronger than the evidence would allow.

Even so, new media are expected to see significant growth in 2021:

What it means:

  • While most marketers believe budgets will continue to migrate online, with the appetite for short-term sales and accessible results a key part of this, Ebiquity is registering some correction. 
  • Partly, this is to do with digital maturity as decision-makers begin to understand that lots of data doesn’t mean lots of effectiveness.
  • Similarly, traditional channels like TV and Radio are infusing digital targeting and measurement capabilities into their offer, diminishing the distinction between so-called new and traditional channels.
  • Stand-out is now key, meaning that brands, and the campaigns they put out, should be clear on the role of media as well as their creative, and assess both over the long term.

Read the full report here

Sourced from Ebiquity; additional content by WARC staff