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4th Quarter Agency Survey: Economic Resurgence Signals a Return to TV, Decrease in Digital

January 19th, 2011 | Read more articles from 2011 or Visit the News Archive
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Optimism abounds in 2011, with television leading the charge according to the STRATA quarterly survey of major advertising firms. STRATA, a leading media buying and selling software provider, found that for the first time since the survey began in 2008, over half of the respondents expressed an increase in business. The survey, which follows advertising trends from leading agencies across the country, also discovered that digital advertising demand has actually decreased, with mobile advertising not yet living up to industry hype.

Over the past three years, there has been a steady uptick in the number of advertising agencies experiencing an increase in business, improving from a low of 22.5% in 2008 to 51% in this poll. Additionally, nearly one quarter of advertisers surveyed said their customers are increasing their budgets from last year, which is a 46% increase from the first quarter of 2010. Optimism about the new year is high, as nearly 35% expect the economy and their business to return to a strong growth period by late 2011, and 17% feeling they are already there.

As the economy improves, advertising agencies remain focused on television as their medium of choice. When having to classify the advertising avenue that agency clients are most focused on, the STRATA survey found that TV remains at the top spot at 44% (up 24% from last quarter), followed by digital at 21.1% and a surprise rebirth of radio at 15.6% (an increase of 75% from the third quarter). After witnessing a steady growth over the past two years, digital advertising demand has decreased for the first time between quarters, from 26% in Q3 to 21.1% in Q4. Agencies expressed the predominant obstacle with digital advertising is the lack of channel effectiveness. Nonetheless, within digital advertising, social media continues to be a hot medium of advertising: 79% of agencies are looking to use Facebook as the dominant social media platform in their clients’ campaigns, with Twitter second at 46%.

“Advertisers are finally feeling more confident about the economy,” said John Shelton, STRATA President/CEO. “As a result, we are finding that many clients are returning their focus to television advertising. While this is can be the expensive platform, agencies view TV as having the greatest impact. Concurrently, we see that the focus on digital has fallen off a bit. While still hot, it is used more in a solid media mix than more dollars heading its way.”
The STRATA survey also found that while mobile advertising is definitely creating a buzz, the advertising purchases have not followed. Of all interactive advertising, Mobile was a distant fourth in advertisers’ minds (at 29%), behind Online Display (80%), Social Media (61%), and Search (60%). The iPhone remains the top mobile device for advertisers, with over 80% expressing they are most interest in placing ads on the Apple device. Blackberry outpaces Android, at 51% to Android’s 45.8%. Apple’s iPad is slowly gaining momentum in the advertising realm, where 31% of advertisers say they are interested in placing ads on the new device – a 22% increase from the previous quarter.

Other key findings of the STRATA survey:

• Location-based advertising avenues aren’t even a blip on the map for many agencies; with nearly 70% say location-based is not in their 2011 plans.  Those few who are interested throw their support behind Facebook Places as the top choice, followed by Foursquare.
• Platforms like iAd, Google TV and Apple TV still hold little interest to agencies as 90% say they don’t have clients requesting these platforms.
• Of types of Mobile advertising, Display is the top choice (67%) – up 28% from 3Q10.  SMS is second at 15%, down a whopping 34% over the last quarter.
• More advertisers are looking at Network TV than ever before in the poll – with 16% saying they are more focused on Network TV than they were in 2010 (up 330% from 1Q10).
• Nearly one quarter of those polled say they will be hiring in 2011.  That’s up 9% from 3Q10.

For more information:, and on Twitter - @gotostrata
For full results please contact J.D. Miller.

Contact Information
J.D. Miller
Director of Marketing and Communications
(312) 222-1555

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