US Ad Spending Trends

ad spendingKantar Media has released its latest quarterly report on US advertising spend, finding that total expenditures in Q1 grew by 5.7% year-over-year to $34.9 billion, boosted by the Winter Olympics, which added an incremental $600 million in spending. Network TV was a prime beneficiary, with roughly half of its 14.5% year-over-year growth owing to the Winter Olympics. Beyond TV’s healthy growth, other trends remained largely consistent with prior quarters.

Ad spending trends

Kantar Media figures may actually underestimate growth, as the online spending estimates only include display advertising, which the report says increased by 13% for the quarter. (By comparison, the IAB recently reported that online ad spending in the US grew by 19% in Q1.)


  • TV

TV media spending was buoyed by the 14.5% increase in network spending, which also benefited from more spending on the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl. a 7% rise in spot TV expenditures, and an 18% hike in Spanish-language TV spend. Indeed, each measured type of TV saw a rise in expenditures, including spot TV (+7%), Spanish-language TV (+18%), cable TV (+6.2%) and syndication TV (+3.2%).

TV media expenditures grew by 9.5% year-over-year in Q1.

  • Radio

While the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) pegged radio revenues as being flat in Q1, Kantar’s estimates aren’t as kind, seeing a 2.4% decline from Q1 2013. Network radio was down by 5.4% per Kantar (-8% according to the RAB), national spot radio grew 6.7% (-2% per the RAB). Local radio (-4.7%) and Hispanic local radio (-10.8%) both saw decreases, according to Kantar’s calculations. Those decreases were primarily attributed to a decline in spend by the retail, auto dealer and restaurant categories.

  • Print

After mixed results in 2013, print ad spending started the year off on the wrong foot, with magazine ad spend down 1.6% and newspaper spend down 5%. (See here for more on global newspaper ad spending trends.)

Within magazine media, declines in ad spending for consumer magazines (-2%) and Sunday magazines (-5.6%) were not matched by increases in spending on B2B magazines (1.2%), local magazines (4.4%) and Spanish-language magazines (15.8%). Kantar notes that the decrease in consumer magazine ad spend owed to “severe reductions from the two largest magazine advertisers (Procter & Gamble and L’Oreal) who account for more than ten percent of total spending.”

Within newspaper media, national newspaper ad spending was flat, while Spanish-language newspaper expenditures inched up by 0.2%. Local newspapers were the only to experience a decline, by a substantial 5.8%.

  • Outdoor, FSIs, and Display

Outdoor advertising had another quarter of positive growth. Outdoor advertising finished the quarter with 2.6% year-over-year growth (the OAAA recently estimated the increase to be 1%). Spending on free-standing inserts (which represents distribution costs only) continued its solid growth, up by 4.4% during the quarter.

Display ad spend increased by 13% in Q1 on the back of larger investments by financial, retail and insurance marketers advertisers.

Top Advertisers and Verticals

Eight of the top 10 advertisers in Q1 increased their spending on a year-over-year basis, with some doing so by a considerable amount. GM hiked its spending by 55.8% year-over-year to $593.4 million, in so doing becoming the second-biggest spender of the quarter, behind Procter & Gamble (-2.6% to $773.8 million). AT&T was the third-largest advertiser (up 4.9% to $535.5 million), followed by Comcast (+5.4% to $421.9 million) and Verizon (up 24.8% to $370.8 million).

Overall, the top 10 advertisers increased their expenditures by 14.1% year-over-year during Q1.

Automotive ranked as the top advertising vertical with roughly $3.76 billion in spending, up 7.7% year-over-year. Retail was next, with a modest 1.6% increase in spending bringing in to $3.41 billion in expenditures. Telecom (up 3.8% to $2.4 billion), local services (up 7.1% to $2.36 billion), and financial services (up 4.2% to $1.98 billion) rounded out the top 5.

About the Data: Kantar’s full explanation of its methodology can be found at the link above.

Where are you placing your advertising dollars? To achieve the highest ROI call 877.447.0134 today.


Search Engines That Refer the Most Engaged Visitors [study]

Search Engine Marketing SEM
Google-referred website visitors have the highest bounce rate (61.3%) of the 5 major search engines analyzed by Shareaholic, with these visitors also averaging the fewest pages per visit. While wins on both those measures, it delivered only a minute 0.04% share of visitors in May to the 300,000+ publishers tracked for the study. By comparison, Google referred 31% share of site visitors, although that was down from 37.5% share 6 months earlier.

Seach Engine Engagement
About the Data: Shareaholic looked at average activity for a 6-month period (December 2013-May 2014) across its network of more than 300,000+ publishers and 400 million unique visitors per month.

Are your online properties optimized for search? To learn more call Lori at 877.447.0134.

Insights That Marketers and Agencies Want From Analytics [study]

Marketing AnalyticsOn average, client-side marketers from around the world estimate that 43% of the analytics data they collect is useful for driving decision-making, while agencies similarly estimate that 40% is useful, per a recent study from Econsultancy and Lynchpin. The survey finds substantial year-over-year increases in the percentage of marketers and agencies reporting that analytics drive actionable recommendations that make a difference. But what exactly are respondents looking to get out of analytics?

 Analytics Data for Marketers and Agencies

In-house marketers surveyed for the report were most likely to cite conversion rate optimization as a top-3 growth or profit-related requirement for analytics, with 55% doing so. That was clearly the top choice, ahead of acquiring new customers (43%), improving marketing ROI (42%) and improving customer retention/loyalty (39%).

Among agency respondents, improving ROI was on par with conversion rate optimization as a top-3 analytics requirement (54% each), with ROI improvement cited by the largest share of respondents as a first choice. Close behind, a slight majority 51% cited the acquisition of new customers as a top-3 requirement.

Company marketers were also asked to identify their most important requirements for analytics as they relate to understanding the customer. The most popular of those were: tracking behavior across devices and channels (56% citing as a top-3 choice); identifying patterns of content engagement and campaign response (55%); and personalization and targeting (53%). Interestingly, fewer (44%) said that evaluating the overall customer experience is a top-3 requirement, with marketers preferring instead, it seems, to focus on specific aspects of customer behavior.

In order to meet their business goals, company respondents identified two types of data that are most important: CRM (57% citing as a top-3 choice); and clickstream (i.e. website interactions; 55%).

Compared to last year, a larger percentage of company respondents are planning to increase their analytics budgets for technology, internal staff, and consulting and services. For those beefing up their analytics staff, digital analytics tools skills will likely be in high demand.  That tracks with recent survey results from Accenture Interactive, in which CMOs were asked what would be the fundamental changes occurring in marketing over the next 5 years: a leading 43% cited analytical skills becoming a core competence.

About the Data: This is the seventh annual Measurement and Analytics Report (formerly known as the Online Measurement and Strategy Report), published by Econsultancy in association with Lynchpin. There were 1,052 respondents to the research request, which took the form of an online survey in April and May 2014. Respondents included both in-house marketers and analysts (51%) and supply-side respondents, including agencies, consultants and vendors (49%). A majority of respondents are based in Europe.

How are you using analytics to increase sales and revenue? To learn more call Lori at 877.447.0134.

6 Critical Email Marketing Metrics

Email marketing
Email remains one of the most effective and inexpensive marketing channels available. 

One of its main strengths is the variety of goals that can be achieved, including sales, customer service, client acquisition and retention.

Campaign may have slightly different KPIs, but there are some that are universally applicable.

Here is a summary of some of the most important email KPIs that marketers need to be aware of .

Open rate

The most basic measurement of email success and one that doesn’t actually reveal much, the open rate simply shows the proportion of recipients who opened your email.

One major flaw with this metric is that it’s generally tracked using an impression pixel, so if a subscriber’s email client doesn’t automatically download your images then it won’t register as an opened email. Nonetheless, it’s worth tracking this metric over time for any major fluctuations or long-term trends, and for comparing the efficacy of different subject lines.

Marketers should also benchmark their efforts against other their industry peers.

Click-through rate

Another basic measurement of email success, revealing the proportion of people who clicked on a link within an email.

Email service providers setup different tracking URLs for each CTA, allowing marketers to compare the efficacy of each link in driving clicks, as well as users’ subsequent on-site behavior.

Click-to-open rate

This metric is more useful than a standard click-through rate as it shows the percentage of unique clicks compared to the number of unique opens. It is therefore a more accurate indicator of how well your email content is performing.

Conversion rate

The conversion rate tells you how many people that clicked through your email and went on to achieve a goal. This doesn’t necessarily mean sales, it can refer to any action that is relevant for your business, such as a downloading a white paper or even scheduling an appointment.

Tracking this metric over time will give you a good idea of the type of content and creative that is most effective for your subscribers. However it is obviously influenced by other factors such as design and your product offering, so it’s a good idea to compare the conversion rate from the email against your other marketing channels.

Unsubscribe rate

It’s inevitable that email subscriber lists will decline over time as people grow tired of your marketing messages and decide to opt out forever more. However the rate at which people opt out is impacted by the frequency, quality and relevance of your email marketing. It’s important to track this metric to ensure your messages aren’t repelling potential customers. Industry data varies, but in general an unsubscribe rate of around 0.5% or lower is okay.

Bounce rate

The bounce rate refers to the number of emails that failed to deliver due to an invalid or non-existent email address. This may not seem like a problem, but in the eyes of internet service providers a high bounce rate can label you as a spammer. You should carry out regular list hygiene checks to remove invalid emails or you may end up being classified as a spammer.

Take your email marketing to the next level. Call 877.447.0134 now.

LinkedIn’s Content Sharing Benefits [study]


Professional content consumption is “dramatically rising” on LinkedIn, according to a new study. Based on a survey of 2,701 LinkedIn members in the US who actively share and consume content, the report reveals that these “content revolutionaries” primarily share professional content on the platform in order to increase their visibility and enhance their reputations. LinkedIn counts as their top source for professional content, and they ascribe numerous benefits to their content consumption.

LinkedIn's Content Sharing Benefits

According to the study, a leading 78% consume content in order to keep up with industry news, while 73% do so to discover new ideas within the industry. Beyond building up their own knowledge base, content consumers also see benefits such as building relationships with colleagues and clients (62%), building their professional reputation (55%), and sparking conversations (51%).

The report also outlines the content types that are most popular among professionals for gaining industry knowledge and helping decision-making. When it comes to industry knowledge, the survey finds that new research, breaking industry news and case studies count as the most popular content types for clicks and shares, in that order. For decision-making assistance, career advice is most likely to earn a click from a “content revolutionary,” although brief, concise content and content produced by business leaders are most apt to be shared.

The most common form of sharing is using the “Like” button, per the study, with a slight majority of respondents indicating this to be their primary or secondary preferred method. Respondents are as likely to share with commentary as they are to do so without; slightly fewer copy to email.

Overall, “content revolutionaries” report spending about 8 hours per week consuming content on LinkedIn, and 65% have increased the amount of time they’ve spent consuming professionally relevant content over the past year. Among those, 61% find it necessary for professional success and 56% are finding it easier to access relevant content. Content should be mobile-friendly, says LinkedIn, as an average 43% of unique visiting members came through mobile in Q1 2014.

LinkedIn is certainly a popular choice for B2B buyers and decision-makers in the US, according to a MarketingCharts Debrief: “Reaching and Influencing B2B Buyers and Decision-Makers”. Buyers over-index the general population in their use of LinkedIn across various platforms, per data obtained for the Debrief. Although it is not their most popular major social network, is tends to be the one that they use most for professional activities.

To gain more from your LinkedIn marketing, call Lori at 877.447.0134 today.

Mobile’s Share of Email Opens By Time of Day [report]

Mobile Email
Mobile’s share of email opens continues to increase, with various sources reporting that share to be 50% or higher. A new report from Knotice pegs mobile’s share of commercial email opens at 48% during the second half of 2013, and analyzes how that share varies throughout the day. Mobile’s role tends to be greater in the pre-workday morning hours and in the evening, with tablets coming out at night.

 Mobile Share of Email Marketing by time of day

While the share of opens occurring on mobile phones was more than twice the share occurring on tablets between 9AM and 2PM, that wasn’t the case for the afternoon and evening hours. In fact, the tablet share of opens rose throughout the afternoon hours, reaching a peak at 9PM (25.5% share). At that hour, phones’ share of opens was only about 11% higher than for tablets.

Overall, the share of email opens occurring on a mobile device (phone and tablet) showed two peaks. The first was at 5AM, when they reached 52.8% share of opens, and the second was at 9PM, when they accounted for 54% share. When limiting the analysis to mobile phones, though, there were 3 mini-peaks: at 5AM (33.4% share); at 11AM (31%); and at 5PM and 6PM (31.1% share each).

The results suggest that mobile email opens trends haven’t changed too much over the past couple of years; back in October 2012, a study from TailoredMail found that mobile email opens tended to peak in the hours immediately preceding and following the traditional workday.

The Knotice report also reveals some other interesting trends: for example, despite their mini-peaks, mobile phones’ share of opens tends to stay quite constant throughout the day, ranging from a low of 27.4% share at 8AM to a high of 33.4% share at 5AM. There’s much more variance in tablet opens, which ranged from a low of 12.2% share at 10AM to a high of 25.5% share at 9PM. In other words, the mobile peaks tend to be driven more by tablet use than mobile phone use.

The report also illustrates that the tablet share of opens was notably higher in the second half (H2) of the year compared to the first half (H1).

For data on when B2B buyers and decision-makers access email on their mobile devices throughout the day, see the recent MarketingCharts Debrief, “Reaching and Influencing B2B Buyers and Decision-Makers”.

Other Findings:

  • The iPhone (25.6%) and iPad (15.7%) combined for more than 41% share of email opens in the second half of the year, compared to just 6% share for Android devices. This can be attributed to the manner in which a mobile open is recorded based on images downloaded… It also could be impacted by email app preview panes. Image download is not a default setting for all smartphones (particularly Android ones).
  • The 48% share of email opens attributed to mobile devices in H2 was up from 41% share in H2 2012.
  • Mobile’s share of email opens was highest in the consumer services (54.8%) industry in H2 2013, with consumer products (38.1%) on the lower end. Retail (49.2%) saw a high share of opens and B2B (37.6%) a relatively low share, consistent with recent data from Experian Marketing Services.
  • Mobile phone and tablet click-to-open (CTO) rates were highest for the financial services and consumer products industries, but continue to lag desktop. That aligns with findings from Yesmail Interactive, which indicate higher CTO rates on desktop than mobile.

About the Data: The report is based on a composite cross sampling of approximately 500 million emails sent across 11 industry segments in each half of 2013 in North America.

Are you email marketing campaigns optimized for mobile? Don’t miss any opportunities, call 877.447.0134 today.

Mobile & Video Ads Deliver More per Impression

mobile video ads
In the first quarter of 2014, the vast majority of digital marketing spend across display, social, video and mobile was allocated to display ads (83%), which delivered 84% share of actions. Video (4% share of impressions) and mobile (1% share) ads each outperformed in terms of share of actions, with video accounting for 6.5% share and mobile 2.5% share. While social captured 12% of impressions, it accounted for a relatively smaller 7% of actions, likely due to its influence being more in the upper funnel.

Mobile & Video Deliver More Per Ad Impression

The study finds that as was the case last year, social ads continue to outperform portals, networks and exchanges in “reach efficiency,” which measures channels’ efficiency in reaching new users and takes into account cost-per-unique-user.

About the Data: For the Q1 2014 Neustar Media Intelligence Report, data was compiled from a representative sample of its customer base. This includes 28 billion impressions across approximately 152 billion ad events. Data represented in the report covered over 1300 different inventory providers across key vertical industries such as CPG, Education, Entertainment, Health, Media, Retail, and Telco.

How are you using mobile and video? To learn more call Lori at 877.447.0134.