More transparency required in the advertising market
The advertising companies in Germany assess the economic outlook for 2012 as at least satisfactory. In the current survey by the Organization of Advertisers in the Brands Association (OWM), which chairman Uwe Becker presented today at the association’s symposium in Berlin, ten percent of the members surveyed forecast a “good” development. In the previous year, the outlook was rated “good” by 49 percent. The proportion of those who foresee a satisfactory development, however, increased significantly from 46 to 77 percent, with a “bad” or even “very bad” course 13 percent expect after only two percent in the last survey.
“The companies are confirming the economic forecasts that the upswing will slow down, but they obviously do not fear a recession. Because most of them rate their prospects for 2012 the same as or better than this year, ”says Becker. This is also proven by the assessment of one’s own prospects. Overall, a majority of 88 percent (previous year 95 percent) believe that their sales will develop as well or better in the coming year than in 2011, and the proportion of those who expect better development has even increased from 39 to 44 percent. When it comes to earnings, 90 percent (previous year 85 percent) forecast an equally good or better development. Becker explains: “These figures also show that the companies are well prepared for a weaker economic development.”
The still positive assessment of the economic development is also noticeable in the advertising market. Almost half of the advertising companies (47 percent) want to increase advertising spending in the next year. Twelve months ago, 56 percent said so. The proportion of those who expect stagnating advertising volume has fallen to 22 percent (previous year 29 percent), while 31 percent (previous year 14 percent) expect advertising spending to decline. According to the survey, 87 percent (previous year: 76 percent) of companies reported increasing shares for online advertising. The statements of the respondents also show that the traditional media remain relevant, because 23 percent (previous year 22 percent) have increased the print share in the media mix, only 36 percent (previous year 39 percent) have reduced it. In TV, 21 percent (previous year 15 percent) invested more, 33 percent (previous year 32 percent) reduced their spending on TV.
When asked what importance social media has for their marketing communication, 49 percent said high or very high relevance, 51 percent said this topic was only of low relevance. The ambivalent attitude is also evident in the assessment of the influence that “social media” has on brands: only 13 percent believe that a brand is strongly influenced by what is communicated there. 64 percent believe that the influence is no greater than with other forms of advertising, 18 percent believe that it has no influence at all and five percent see more harmful effects. Still, 90 percent want to increase their spending on social media in the next twelve months. Advertisers are critical of the lack of performance records: 85 percent complain that there are insufficient records of performance for digital media; 70 percent confirm that this inhibits their investments in online advertising. According to Beckers, advertisers can only determine the return on investment (ROI) with the help of a resilient convergent media currency across all channels and manage their investments. The control of the ROI has a high and very high relevance for 82 percent of the advertising companies. 51 percent optimize ongoing campaigns according to ROI criteria.
47 percent of those surveyed named transparency as the most important challenge for the advertising industry in the next year, with “trading” following in second place with 39 percent. OWM Managing Director Joachim Schütz says: “Due to the trading discussion in the market, the issue of transparency has moved back to the top of the agenda. As a lobby group for advertising companies, we reject non-transparent trading deals. All market partners should be aware of the long-term consequences of such trading models ”. Price increases are named third with 36 percent and will therefore remain one of the top topics for advertising companies in 2012 as well. “Against the background of the uncertain economic situation, the market partners should not go too far here,” warns Schütz.