Media Options Are Exploding

By Mike Sells

Two decades ago, there were only a handful of media options available to local and regional advertisers. Today, the options have exploded with digital versions of newspapers and magazines, streaming TV shows and radio, etc. Add in online and mobile banner ads, search, in-app ads and countless pre-roll video options, and it’s easy to see just how much media consumption has changed.

The result is that we are living in a very tumultuous and confusing time for local and regional advertisers trying to navigate the maze of content delivery options to reach their target audiences.

But don’t assume that these new media are cannibalizing established media. Instead, the new devices and channels are creating an overall increase in the amount of time spent consuming media. In other words, the pie isn’t just being divided into more pieces, the pie itself is growing. That’s why traditional TV can still dominate the local-market landscape in terms of delivering the dominant mix of reach and frequency, even with the proliferation of new media over the past decade. And newspaper readership, which has continuously fallen over the past few decades, now appears to have leveled off and can still be very effective for some demographic segments.

Even the new media are changing. As click-through rates remain almost insignificantly small (around 0.1 percent), its purpose has now shifted from driving traffic to, instead, driving awareness and branding with traffic as an added benefit. Today’s variety of available sizes make the ads harder than ever to miss.

The bottom line? Marketers targeting local markets might not need to completely abandon traditional media channels in favor of new media. The ideal mix utilizes all (or at least most) media, recognizing that none of the new channels is so dominant as to replace the reach available through even the weakened traditional channels.

Including more media channels doesn’t work if a stagnant budget dilutes the effectiveness of each one. Additionally, planning the most effective media mix varies greatly from one local market to the other and depends greatly upon the market goal of a campaign. These are all reasons why developing and deploying an effective media plan requires a higher level of expertise now than ever before.

Click here to read the new Sells Agency report,  “The State of Media Consumption 2015.”

Mike Sells is the owner/CEO of the Sells Agency, Little Rock, Ark. The firm is a full-service marketing, advertising and public relations agency with an emphasis on bank and financial services marketing.