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Social media ads are considered to be as effective at generating sales as broadcast TV ads, according to a survey of 666 local ad agencies from Borrell Associates [download page]. Respondents were asked to rate the performance of various media they use on a 5-point scale.

Broadcast TV emerged on top with an average rating of 3.22. However, that was only a hair ahead of social media, with its score of 3.17. In other words, local ad agencies using social ads are about as pleased with their success as those using broadcast TV ads.

The survey asked the agencies to disregard price when considering the effectiveness of the various advertising media. A score of 3 or higher indicated that the media’s performance was “good” or better.

It’s yet another indication that social media is making its way up the ranks as a marketing and advertising vehicle – particularly when targeting youth. For example:

Highlights from Borrell’s report also suggest that broadcast TV and social media are thought to have the highest ROI. Facebook is the clear winner among social platforms, with most not seeing Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter as effective (at least for local ad buyers).

Meanwhile, following broadcast TV and social ads in the effectiveness rankings were email ads (3.09) and direct mail (3.00), per the study.

For direct marketers, data suggests that median ROI is far higher for email than for direct mail, though. That seems to be due to higher cost-per-acquisition figures for direct mail than for email.

Overall, Borrell’s study finds that a slight majority of local ad agencies feel that the best mix of advertising media leans mostly towards traditional, with some digital added.

The full report can be purchased here.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 666 local ad agencies conducted in the Spring and Summer of 2017. Respondents come from a mix of company sizes and industries, and three-quarters are with agencies that have been in business for more than 10 years.

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