Where the Real Ad Money Is (Hint: It Ain’t Video)

YOSHIHARADESIGN_SS2012ADesperation is rarely a good place from which to make a sound business decision. And yet…

Video, video and more video.

It’s the current rallying cry of the modern marketer, with dollars being poured into digital video channels at a breakneck page.

And, according to the stats, it’s a sucker’s bet.

“Magazine advertising easily produces the highest return per dollar of ad spend and digital video the least, a comprehensive US study of consumer packaged goods (CPG) advertising has found,” writes Arvind Hickman in AdNews.

“Every dollar spent on magazine advertising produced a return of $3.94 in sales. Display yielded the next best return with $2.63, followed by cross-media campaigns ($2.62), linear TV ($2.55) and mobile ($2.45),” Hickman continues.

The worst performing category was digital video with a return of $1.53, while newspapers, out of home and other ad categories were not included in the report,” he continues.

That’s some sobering news.

It also adds credibility to the voices that predict the video bubble is poised to burst. Not only is there a lot of malarkey behind video viewership numbers, the ineffectiveness of video ads has been talked about for years now.

Facebook et. al. is pushing video hard, so marketers are following suit, blindly it would seem. Marketers who see the bigger picture – i.e. the fact that Facebook is looking to become the defacto platform publisher – realize that blindly doing what Team Z advises isn’t always the right choice. In fact, it’s been called the path to suckerdom.

Meanwhile, Hickman notes that the current CPG study does “row against current media spending habits,” to put it mildly.

“Magazine advertising is predicted to be one of the fastest shrinking categories this year, with ad spend in Australia to decline by 17.1% to $319 million as publishers increasingly transition to online and mobile apps, according to a ZenithOptimedia report,” he writes. “Conversely, online video is predicted to be one of the fastest growing categories, with marketers desperate to pour more money into the category.”

Desperation is rarely a good place from which to make a sound business decision. Let’s hope the stone cold truths about magazine ads start to speak for themselves.