What Media Buyers Can Learn From Their Peers

People are influenced by the actions of their peers. We see this in the power of referrals and word of mouth – not to mention among impressionable teenage boys and girls. And we certainly see it in digital media.

Media buying and ad spending trends are always among the most interesting statistics to cross a digital marketer’s desk. How and where our peers – and our competitors – are spending their ad dollars is of great interest to us. Is this because we strive to mimic their every move? Certainly not. But in the same way that media buyers sometimes skirt new ad channels until the trailblazers have worked out all the campaign kinks, this knowledge goes a long way toward establishing the value of digital marketing opportunities.

The past few months have offered up some interesting new data on current and anticipated marketer activity. Let’s take a look at three potential areas of investment to see what our peers are doing – and what you may want to consider doing, too.

Social Media

This year’s State of Social Media Marketing report, sponsored by Awareness Social Marketing Software, culled responses from over 300 marketers to gauge their current level of engagement with the medium. The report found that survey respondents are eager to boost their presence on social platforms (70 percent), increase the frequency of the content they publish (59 percent), and adopt a more robust management and monitoring system for social sites (50 percent and 45 percent, respectively).

News you can use. Aside from demonstrating a dedication to engaging with social media users, this suggests that marketers are expecting to increase their spending on social media sites and platforms this year overall. The report lists securing funding and measuring ROI as the two major challenges marketers face, but yet they have lofty aspirations for their work with social sites. Expect your peers to be convincing executives to bulk up their social media investment by demonstrating ROI, and try to do the same. They’ll be looking to platforms like blogs, forums, and YouTube, which can be easier to measure than some newer social sites, in order to prove social media’s worth.

Online Video

Recently, video advertising technology company Videology conducted a survey of the U.S. video market with interesting results. It found that in the first quarter of 2012, consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies and financial advertisers constituted nearly half of all online video advertisers.

News you can use. Based on this information alone, you may be tempted to watch as many branded CPG and financial videos as you can and start hoarding ideas for your own ads. There are, however, a few additional categories you’ll want to add to your list. Though these advertisers are spending big money on ads, according to Videology the highest view-through rates actually come from finance, entertainment, and automotive ads, and the highest CTRs from travel, telecomm, and entertainment. These are the video ads you should have on your radar when you’re about to develop your own. Analyze them for length, format, content, and interactivity, and think of ways to customize and apply these characteristics to your campaign.


U.S. mobile advertising rose by 89 percent from 2010 to 2011, and is expected to increase by another 80 percent to $2.61 billion this year. There’s no doubt your peers are spending on mobile ads. The question is: where and how? According to eMarketer, mobile search is tops (Google is currently attracting the most mobile ad dollars among ad networks), followed by banners and rich media.

News you can use. There’s more to this story than meets the eye. As ClickZ reported last month, 79 percent of Fortune 500 companies haven’t yet built a mobile-optimized site, suggesting that any mobile adverting efforts on their behalf would be premature and, quite possibly, wasted. Expect to see brands put more effort into their mobile destinations before they put more money into mobile campaigns. If your own mobile site is non-existent or not up to snuff, invest in it prior to turning your dollars over to a mobile ad network.

We can learn a lot by looking at what’s happening around us, whether it’s a competitor on the other side of the country, or an ad agency down the street.

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