Media Buyers are Failing Brands Due to This One Bias

The last few weeks we’ve talked a lot about the importance of true engagement in advertising, and how the quest for eyeballs has been distracting many brands from the real point of their campaigns.

Now, new research from Ebiquity and Radiocentre is shedding light on a disturbing trend … and according to Mike Florence, Chief Strategy Office at PHD Media Worldwide, agencies and media planners need to take a hard look at what they are recommending to their clients.

“The study ultimately found that brands are under-investing in traditional media including magazine media because they wrongly perceive that digital media is more effective at brand-building,” Florence writes in Mediatel.

“Magazines were shown to be a channel massively undervalued by marketers and agency leaders,” Florence continues. “Despite the fact … that as a medium they fully engage their audience’s attention and inspire an unparalleled degree of trust.”

This bias toward digital is understandable, Florence explains, in a culture where immediate results are the expected metric and following the trend is viewed as a safer choice.

“The relentless pace of technology has changed the world quickly, which has led to an increased pressure and demand for quick results, meaning we are more likely to rely on what we perceive as ‘the norm’ and take less risks,” he notes.

And there’s the problem. This bias toward digital on the part of planners and agencies is shortchanging their customers’ campaigns. 

“Alarm bells have been ringing for some time,” said Ebiquity managing principal Morag Blazey. “Our analytics research is repeatedly showing that advertisers are not getting the best possible return on their media investment.”

Florence agrees. “In a world obsessed with reaching eyeballs, we want to talk to brains,” he says.

Fortunately, data like this report and other research that shows how brands work in our brains is slowly turning the tide away from incorrect assumptions about digital ads. When we understand the deeper connection and engagement that comes from print ads, we can see – and eliminate – the prevailing bias.

The key is to be informed, and go with facts, not assumptions. This report is a great place to start.