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Digital Media Planning | Adaptation

by • 29 July, 2016 • OTHERComments (0)518

2016 Digital Media Planning: A Mid-Year Review

As the digital media market matures and strategies for integrating online and offline advance, it’s good to take a mid-year, macro analysis of the market in digital media planning – particularly with the current economic events and Q4 decision making underway.

In late 2015, McKinsey’s Global Media Report summarized events that should come as no surprise to anyone in concerned with digital media buying (or even the average consumer):

• The slow decline of traditional “bundled” media in favor of customizable, pay-as-you-go services like Netflix
• The integration of media sources into single points of consumption like Facebook
• The prevalence of mobile technologies.

In fact, McKinsey predicts digital media will continue to be the #1 source of growth in media, and that by 2019 digital will account for 50% of overall media spend.(For full disclosure: nearly 75% of Criterion Global’s work involves, at least in part, digital media planning). However, McKinsey’s most salient observations relate to the differences in media habits in developed markets versus developing ones, and the recommendation, albeit soft, to not count traditional media out just yet.

In many markets, broadband and television infrastructure penetration has yet to reach saturation, particularly in parts of Asia Pacific and Latin America, where McKinsey predicts the greatest growth in consumer spend through 2019. In other words, as wealth and access to new media increases in these regions, traditional media is still the best way to reach these consumers as they make the “shift” to digital.

For example, Mexico’s business-friendly environment places it 3rd among Ernst and Young’s rankings for most cost-friendly emerging markets. Yet, Mexico has only a 21% smartphone penetration rate, and correspondingly low digital consumption. Yet Mexicans consume traditional media voraciously, watching an impressive 5.75 hours of television per day, 3rd highest in this same index. India too has low digital penetration, but the world’s largest box office attendance, 160 million pay-TV households, and 94,000 newspapers. Mexico’s telenovelas and India’s Bollywood culture make them noteworthy, but these emerging markets aren’t alone: according to the WHO, 70% of those on the African continent will not make a phone call in their lifetime due to lack of telcomm, infrastructure, yet 70% of the continent’s population are reachable by radio. In many emerging markets, traditional media is still indispensable.

Further, consumers don’t necessarily separate their habits into a “digital vs. non-digital” binary, either. For consumers, it’s more about which media offer the most interesting experiences or content, seamlessly. For some, a magazine cover may catch one’s eye and be in closer reach on a drugstore shelf than subscription to the digital version.

Developed markets are also witnessing a resurgence of interest in live and physical experiences. British communications agency Protein released a 40 page Slow Report, investigating how younger generations value relationships and health as measures of success, alongside traditional metrics like wealth. It also discusses the emergence of thoughtful, “slow” media consumption versus a fast and fleeting intake of goods and information. Monocle Magazine, the flagship of a mini media empire that’s flourished – at least in part – from this nostalgia for “slow” media, predicts good things for the fate of print in 2016. McKinsey also predicts that the decline in print spend will soon reach an equilibrium as households that have abandoned print subscriptions in favor of digital will have already done so.

In digital media planning for the remainder of the year and beyond, international advertisers would do well to remember that while digital seems to be the “answer,” there is truly a continuum of digitization in both developed and emerging markets. Consumer habits cannot be codified into black-and-white, digital-or-traditional categories and neither should traditional and digital media planning. There still is a lot of value to be seen from a print or TV spot, or (gasp!) an in-person experience. Counterintuitive though it may be, if your digital media planning happens in a digital vacuum, you’re missing greater opportunities.

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