News & Opinion

Is it time to re-evaluate media?

Radiocentre and Ebiquity release new research showing a "significant mismatch" between industry perceptions of brand-building effectiveness and evidence of effectiveness.

Launched at an event at the Ham Yard hotel this week, the new 'Re-evaluating Media' research identifies what advertisers and agencies consider to be the most important attributes in delivering brand-building campaigns and evaluates how each medium performs against these attributes.

The study found that established media do well on a host of different attributes (and better than online) but fall down when it comes to perceptions. As a result, the report claims "there is a clear disconnect between the scale of investment in online media and the value it delivers".

According to the research, the five most important media attributes for growing a brand in the longer term are:

  1. targeting the right people in the right place at the right time
  2. increasing campaign ROI
  3. triggering a positive emotional response
  4. increasing brand salience
  5. maximising campaign reach

Judged against these, TV and radio came out top, followed by newspapers, magazines and out of home, while online display is the weakest performer. However, with the exception of TV, the research shows that despite the evidence, advertisers undervalue traditional media while at the same time over-rate online video and paid social.

Writing for Marketing Week, Mark Ritson says "it turns out that perception creates the reality for most marketers". Ritson believes "there is a significant bias within media agencies towards digital media and against so-called traditional alternatives".

"Media like radio and newspapers are dismissed far too easily by marketers, who need to open their minds to the real possibilities that these fantastic channels can offer," he writes.

Ebiquity says there is strong evidence that digital advertising, especially online display, is not performing as well as other media in delivering the qualities required for long-term brand-building, which is at odds with the scale of investment in online. As a result, the report calls on advertisers to "re-evaluate the media mix to ensure they are using the most effective combination of media for their brand".

The report also points out that traditional media have a "robust body of research evidence to prove the medium works" (Newsworks research is available here). It suggests that online media needs to invest in effectiveness research as "it will be in everyone's interest to get a true perspective on the effectiveness of online advertising". 

The research, conducted between October 2017 and January 2018, included more than 100 in-depth telephone interviews with advertisers and agencies as well as a review of more than 75 published reports. 

Morag Blazey, managing principal at Ebiquity, said: "The findings reveal that it is time for the industry to re-evaluate media decisions to optimise advertising budgets".

Denise Turner, insight director at Newsworks, added: "We've instinctively known for some time that there's been a disconnect between perceptions vs reality when it comes to advertising effectiveness so it's reassuring to see such rigorous research from Radiocentre and Ebiquity to highlight this issue. Hopefully the findings will not just land within the industry and be a source for all of us, but will result in a rebalancing of budgets."

You can read more and download the full report here.

by Liz Jaques 08/03/18

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