Online Video Continues To Drive Digital Growth Says ZenithOptimedia’s Barnard

ZenithOptimediaThe research team at ZenithOptimedia reported yesterday that “total internet ad spend to grow 12.6%, 15.8% and 16.1% in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The brightest spot in terms of online ad growth will be online video.” Read more on Radio & Television Business Report.

Jonathan Barnard, Head of Forecasting at Publicis’ ZenithOptimedia, discussed the latest predictions and their implications. Where is the momentum in digital today? What channels are leading the pack?

JB: Social media and online video are the main drivers of digital growth today. Paid search is being restrained by the shift from desktop searches to mobile searches, which is from high-cost to low-cost environments. Classified is restrained by weak employment and property markets.

What surprised you in the data of the most recent forecast?

The biggest surprise was probably the full extent of the disruption in the Middle East. We already knew it was having a big effect (we scaled back our +6.6% forecast in December to +0.1% in April), but our new forecast of -12.1% growth this year was one of the largest downward revisions I remember making in such a short time.

How do you see mobile impacting display advertising?

Thanks to the rapid spread of smartphones and better connectivity, mobile is now a very promising ad medium, and is the fastest growing component of digital spend in the US. It will still only account for 3% of US spend this year, and less in other markets, so it will be some time before the growth of mobile starts exerting serious pressure on other display media.

Where will it mete out for newspapers? Do they go digital?

So far we see no end to the continued decline of newspaper ad expenditure. It’s still the second-largest medium, though, and it will be able to support paper businesses for many years to come. Certainly newspapers need to make the most of their digital businesses, but I can’t see physical newspapers entirely disappearing for a long, long time.

Are you seeing the affects of audience buying in your figures?

Advertisers and agencies have been investing heavily in research and tools to allow them to target the right people, and target them in the most effective way. In the short term this may actually reduce the expenditure of some advertisers, if they can find more efficient ways of reaching their core audience, but in the long term it will be good for expenditure by improve the return on investment in advertising.

By John Ebbert

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