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Predictions for media buying in 2011

2010 will be remembered as a year that eliminated any doubts as to the viability and longevity of digital media.  At the same rate, the year also taught us that the traditional methods of doing business are still valuable when coupled with new technologies and mediums.

More specifically, this was the year of Apple and Facebook. New advertising platforms like the iAd were introduced to much fan fare, and digital continued to gain significant marketing acceptance, with most of the general public accepting social platforms like Facebook and Twitter as their “window” into the world.

There are challenges ahead. Despite the technological advances of 2010, the economy did not make enough positive strides this year, and most advertisers will face an uphill battle in client spending and attraction. While holiday advertising, according to our systems, was up by 20% in November 2010 compared to 2009, this was partially due to political advertising compressing advertising to that month.  This suggests that advertising will not return to “status quo” spending levels until at least mid 2011.

Budgets around digital advertising, however, will continue to increase in 2011. The affordability and accessibility of digital will make great strides next year. Still, digital will not completely overwhelm traditional advertising just yet.  For example, while there seems to be a tremendous opportunity for digital advertising around location-based platforms such as Foursquare, strategy and plans still need to be developed before advertisers can truly capitalize on this medium.

In addition, the iPhone will remain the top choice for mobile advertisers in 2011, but texting will slow as a viable advertising vehicle due to application growth and popularity.

In the traditional advertising categories, print’s outlook for 2011 remains grim. Most agencies are not focusing budgets on this medium due to low circulation and readership. Nonetheless, the online versions of leading outlets, along with the possibilities of application advertising, have the potential to create new growth and breathe more life into the newspaper and magazine sector.

TV will retain its crown in 2011 as cable continues to attract new advertisers due to their original programming audience outpacing network television viewers. Cross-platform advertising will offer new opportunities as well, with budgets making room for campaigns to be synced between online and TV.  Advertisers also remain hopeful that the automotive industry will prove resilient in 2011, bringing TV ad buys to its former levels of glory.     

As it stands right now, 2011 will start off fairly flat for the advertising/media industry, but the struggling economy also gives way to a rebirth of creativity and development. There will be new opportunity for strategy and allocation of advertising dollars, providing the industry with a level of hope that most haven’t felt since before the recession era. It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine. Repeat Refrain.

John Shelton is CEO and president of media buying agency Strata.



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