US digital advertising accelerates but goals are varied

Michelle Clancy | 23 May 2014

Heavy use of video and rich media ads by marketers of news media, movies, TV shows, games and music is pushing US digital advertising spending in media and entertainment, according to eMarketer.

"Advertising objectives in media and entertainment campaigns are as complex as the industries themselves," said eMarketer. "Sometimes marketers are trying to drive specific outcomes digital subscriptions in the case of a news publisher, or bodies in seats, in the cases of theatrical film openings or concert tours. Other times, media and entertainment firms use advertising to burnish their brands. Examples of these types of ads might include homepage takeovers and sponsorships."

Overall, US media leans toward the direct-response side, with roughly a 60-40 split between direct response and branding. Conversely, the breakdown in entertainment spending is almost the reverse, with 36.5% of the total going to direct-response advertising and 63.5% to branding.

This mix between these two advertising objectives puts the combined US media and entertainment industries at an approximately 50-50 split, eMarketer found, which is in line with computing products, telecom, and health and pharma, all of which have direct-response objective spending percentages ranging from the low- to mid-50s.

"Virtually every advertiser has a dual need to build their brand and also drive lower-funnel actions," Yahoo's Mark Ellis, vice president of North American field sales, told eMarketer. "Some super high-end branded advertisers will never sell anything online, and some direct marketers are only interested in driving acquisitions. So everybody is playing on both sides."