Advertisers Rate Their Most Effective Media Types Across Upper- and Lower-Funnel Goals

April 11, 2022

Optimizing the marketing mix across channels has traditionally been a critical struggle for marketing leaders. As a result, it’s always interesting to see where marketers and advertisers perceive various channels’ effectiveness at different stages of the funnel. In steps Advertiser Perceptions with a look at the media types that advertisers and agencies feel are best at delivering on campaign objectives along the purchase journey.

To arrive at its results, Advertiser Perceptions surveyed 255 marketers (41% share) and agencies (59% share) during Q3 2021, each respondent being 100% involved in media brand selection decisions and having a minimum annual ad spend of $1 million (a slim majority reported having more than $25 million in annual ad spend). It’s worth noting that as part of a podcast advertising study, this particular sample included 21% share of agency respondents who are audio/radio specialists, as well as 85% of respondents overall who are podcast users (current/past/planned) as opposed to digital audio only (15%).

Delivering Success: Digital Video A Leader

For each of the 4 campaign goals/objectives listed, respondents were asked to list at least 1, but no more than 3, media types that are best at delivering on the objective. The results show that while TV still has a place in today’s media mix, digital media is taking over – with digital video in particular vaulting to the top in many respects.

Improving Brand Awareness/Recall

For the upper-funnel goal of improving brand awareness/recall, the traditional powerhouse in this respect, TV, has taken a backseat. Instead, the top response was digital video, as cited by 51% of respondents, ahead of TV (43%). Advertiser Perceptions notes that this 43% for TV represents a significant decline from the prior wave of the survey: indeed, the year-earlier survey had TV ahead of digital video on this measure. This change comes after previous research finding an uptick in the share of marketers who believe that linear TV advertising is less effective than it used to be.

Following digital video and TV for the upper-funnel goal of improving brand awareness/recall are paid social (36% – benefiting from a rise in consumer use for discovering brands), digital audio/radio (33%), podcasts (29%) and display (28%). Compared to the previous wave, digital audio/radio has experienced a significant lift, overtaking podcasts.

Improving Brand Preference/Favorability

As for the other upper-funnel goal listed of improving brand preference/favorability, advertisers again pointed to digital video (48%), which with a significant rise from the prior wave edged out paid social (47%).

The third spot was reserved for podcasts (35%), its top ranking across the 4 stages analyzed. In fact, podcasts ended up just ahead of TV (34%) on this measure, with digital audio/radio (27%, a significant improvement) and display (20%) rounding out the top 6.

Improving Consideration/Buying Intention

Switching to lower-funnel goals, and it’s still digital video that emerges on top, cited by 44% of respondents as being among their top 3 for improving consideration/buying intention. Digital video again enjoyed a significant increase from the prior wave, the only of the top 6 media types to do so for this particular objective.

Following digital video were paid search (39%) and paid social (35%), with social reportedly having overtaken search in global ad spend last year and set to do the same to TV this year.

Podcasts (29%) took the #4 position in this lower-funnel goal, ahead of display (27%) and e-commerce/sponsored shopping links (26%).

Increasing Sales

As for the lower-funnel goal of increasing sales, there’s a clear winner: paid search. Cited by half (50%) of respondents as a top-3 media type for this objective, paid search was well clear of its closest competitors. Those were paid social (39%) and e-commerce/sponsored shopping links (38%), the latter again making an appearance in lower-funnel goals.

Further down the list in close succession were digital video (27%), TV (26%), and podcasts (25%). Although this was the lowest rank for podcasts, the results indicate that the 25% of respondents including podcasts in their top-3 was a significant 7% point improvement from the previous wave of the survey.

Other Findings:

  • Some 54% of respondents expect their digital/streaming audio ad spend to increase in 2022, as do 53% with respect to their podcast advertising spend.
  • Podcast ad budgets are most apt to come from overall digital budgets or from digital audio budgets.
  • Pre-produced audio/radio spots and host-read ads are perceived to be equally effective for brand advertising goals, while host read ads are perceived to be the most effective for performance advertising goals.
  • Topical interests (52%) are the most important audience targeting attribute for podcast ad campaigns, ahead of age (37%) and income (35%).
  • Attribution is the biggest challenge for podcast advertising, followed by detailed campaign measurement and reporting, and scale.

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