Small publishers and traditional media benefitting in 2022

2022 has not been the year many hoped for in the beginning. War in the Ukraine, supply chain issues, and energy price rises did throw a spanner into many plans. The ad market is surely no exception and the high growth expected had to be downgraded in the year-end reviews coming out now. There were some notable exceptions however as small publishers and traditional media were benefitting in the 2022 ad market climate.

Magna, the central planning unit of global advertising behemoth IPG Mediabrands published its year-end outlook a few days ago. It had some surprising findings. According to Magna’s analysis, the top 15 media suppliers’ share of the global ad marketplace actually contracted two percentage points in 2022 to 58% (and this is not just down to Elon Musk wrecking Twitter). Both, the share for the 3 largest advertising media channels as well as the share of the following 12 largest providers declined, although it does not show all in the chart due to rounding. In any case, it is remarkable as it is the first time that the concentration in the ad market paused!

Share Main media suppliers of the global ad spending
Share Main media suppliers of the global ad spending

Additionally, the gap between growth in digital channels and traditional advertising media was down to 6%. This is by far the lowest gap for more than 12 years, where digital was often more than 20% ahead in growth. It is the more surprising as many expected a much stronger push for digital media after the pandemic experience – and this was certainly true for 2020 and 2021.

It is a good sign that the advertising channels are diversifying again. Grown up years ago it still seems unthinkable to me that 3 media suppliers receive almost half of the global ad spending. Only a few years ago hundreds of newspaper, magazine or directory publishers, TV channels, radio stations, mailers and out-of-home agencies competed for their piece of the advertising pie – almost all only in their own territory. Advertising has the power to change people’s minds (otherwise there would not be so much money spent on it), therefore I feel that it is worrisome that so much spending is concentrated on so few players now. More publishers being supported now is good news for more diverse communities. There is some hope as well that spending on social media platforms promoting misinformation is channeled back into quality journalism.

I hope that small publishers and traditional media will not only benefitting in 2022, but that the tide is turning for a more healthy, balanced and diverse media landscape.

Time to ditch flyers?

In the media and advertising world in Germany the decisions of major supermarket chain Rewe and home improvement store chain Obi that it is time to ditch their flyers made headlines recently. Both are a staple in the post boxes or are distributed as inserts in newspapers or free magazines. Instead, both companies announced that they will be focussing on digital channels in the future.

Both companies cited as main arguments for ditching the flyer environmental concerns. This might be true, although none cared to make a calculation of the environmental impact of replacing print with digital media – nor mentioning that they considered making their print products more environmentally friendly.

The true reasons are likely cutting costs (possibly tied in with the high paper prices) and the belief that customers are better served by digital. It might as well be the perennial urge in retail/marketing to jump on the latest bandwagon.

The catch might be whether customers will follow. The Austrian Post made an interesting end user survey in 2019 on, among other factors, which advertising channels are consulted before making a purchase and which advertising channels are the most amiable (in lack of a better translation of the German word “sympatisch”). Displayed are selected results for the category of groceries.

Effectiveness of advertising
Purchase drive and Likeability of advertising

Flyers, or small catalogues, tick both boxes in being consulted most often and being the most amiable/likable/pleasant – by a wide margin. Digital channels rank much lower, especially on the likeability scale. This is certainly down to the more mundane nature of groceries as most people do not consult the web before buying a pack a bottle of milk. Both companies are not selling high-tech products, rather products of daily living. Flyers are still the easiest and best inspiration in this category, even for younger buyers.  It might be a premature time to ditch flyers.

Popular in the pandemic – Google searches analysed

What analysts and marketers like about the internet is that everything is measurable – as pointless as it may be in many cases. Yet there is a bunch of internet stats that are helpful or at least entertaining. The latter is in my view a website that analysed Google searches and looked at how popular product search terms were in the pandemic.

For the printing industry most categories are of limited interest as mostly consumer goods made it to the searched item roster. Keywords and categories were sourced from Google product taxonomy. Results are restricted to searches on Google Shopping in the US only. The analysis ranked products and their search terms into three groups.

Average time spent reading e-mails – chart of the week

If you sent out e-mails you better come up with something to be read quickly. Litmus, describing itself as a leader in email marketing and analytics, published a report titled “State of Email Engagement” in which the average time spent reading an e-mail is only 10 seconds. This is down by 15% compared to the year before. In contrast to 2018 it is even 25% less time.

Average time spent reading e-mails
Average time spent reading e-mails

Marketing budget allocation – chart of the week

In an outside view marketing often equals advertising. Corporations need to perform a lot more activities within marketing however, which are necessary to plan and support advertising or are spent on other activities. This is reflected in the marketing budget allocation shares of the total spend according to a new study from salesforce.com. Only 22% of the total marketing budgets is allocated to advertising. Considerable shares are invested into technology and people – which includes salary, training and other personnel costs. Event and sponsorship rank high on the budget list as well, demonstrating how companies still spend considerable amounts on shows, events and sponsorship activities (which in turn might support events as well).

Share of Marketing budget allocation B2C