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  • Frank Gussoni

Yes, I’ll Dare Say It!

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

I like making projections and I tend to fancy myself a bit further out on the curve than most. I like to be ahead of current conditions and foresee upcoming reality. But on this occasion, I don’t think it’s a projection at all, but rather an observation and I’m going to let the facts speak for themselves.

So, I’m just going to say it! It’s big, so here goes. “Digital Only” agencies plug your ears.

Digital and Social Ad Mediums as we currently know them, have seen their most effective days already!

Huh? What did this joker just say? Obviously, this guy is delusional!

Digital and social media enrollment and media spending have continued to grow year over year. Here’s a few stats.

  • 4.48 billion people use social media worldwide, according to platform reports.

  • 56.8% of the world’s population is active on social media when looking at eligible audiences aged 13+ years, rising to 82% in North America.

  • 56.8% of the world’s population use social networks, regardless of age or web access.

  • 93.33% are active users.

  • Out of 5.27 billion unique mobile phone users, 85% are active users.

  • 99% of users access the websites or apps through a mobile device

And it’s quite clear according to Oberlo, that Social spending is accelerating just as quickly.

Furthermore, according to Statista there was 153BN spent on digital ads in the US in 2021.

Digital advertising accounted for 61% of all US ad spend in 2021 and there was 11.4BN in digital fraudulent advertising during the same year.

Some fierce numbers, right? So, how can I be so out of sync with the facts?

Because I didn’t say ad spending or enrollment numbers are going to decrease anytime soon, although they should. I said their ad effectiveness as we now know it, have seen their best days.

Here’s the deal. Social algorithms are constantly being tweaked but rarely are to the benefit of the advertisers, but rather the media outlets. We have been tracking projected audience numbers verses actuals and they have continued to decline, have larger discrepancies and under deliver, campaign over campaign. They are getting worse instead of better. When tracking consumer behavior has never been better, then how can this be?

  1. Many users are not spending as much time on these platforms as they had been.

  2. There are so many more ads that users are seeing a smaller percentage of the total number of ads available during a session, with less frequency.

Why is this occurring?

  1. Over saturated ad space.

  2. The media outlets’ bottom lines.

In case you don’t follow the market, many of these companies are missing earnings estimates and predicting lower expectations moving forward. So, they need to tighten the exposure algorithms so they can force clients to spend more.

My next reason is the noise! The noise is the flood of ad budgets being funneled into digital media at a rate that the medium is beginning to show it can’t physically support the weight of the ask any longer. Every time another dollar is added to the digital universe, another spot needs to be created because everyone is vying for the money. So, geotargeting is looser, restrictions are dismissed more, viewability is dropping and generally it’s creating a sloppier ad environment, all while more money pours in.

The more noise, the more money needed by a single brand to yell louder than their competitors. As the noise level rise across platforms the advertisers’ results worsen.

While I still believe digital and social media need to be a portion of a successful campaign, unless you are linking directly from digital and social ads to an e-commerce site, I believe the mix of tactics has been skewed too heavily to digital and social ads.

My final point is this. Large tech companies that have their thumbprints all over the internet, such as Google, Meta, Samsung, Verizon, Netflix, Microsoft and Apple are shifting dollars from the digital universe and beginning to place more in other forms of advertising, even traditional media. Surely these companies have some very smart folks and lots of number crunchers. They know things before most of us do. So, ask yourself why are they diverting more of their ad budgets away from their digital and social campaigns? You see them on OOH, TV and OTT, even a few radio ads.

A sound campaign is a balanced campaign. And a good agency will help you determine the right mix, whether they specialize in that area or not, with no preconceived notions or formulas. They’ll do what’s best for their clients, not the media outlets and their bottom lines! Maybe it’s time to rethink your mix.



President & Founder of A3 media.

We’re Type A. We transform media from an expense into a smart investment.

Frank’s Take provides uncommon sense media buying advice for regional and mid-market businesses.

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President & Founder of A3 media. We’re Type A. We transform media from an expense into a smart investment.

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