Foresight Equals Insight

Ken Pearl, CEO, Advertiser Perceptions

The presidential election is over and done with, but the analysis of the polls is just beginning. Who called it right? Who got it wrong? And why do we care? There’s a simple answer: we care because the most accurate of the polls, the ones that most consistently predict “reality,” are usually the ones we pay more attention to next time.

We at Advertiser Perceptions, the leader in providing the media industry with research-based advertiser insight, like to do our own “reality check” every six months. Each bi-annual wave of our cornerstone study, the Advertiser Intelligence Reports (AIR), asks marketers and agencies about their spending plans for the coming year. By comparing AIR Optimism futures to Kantar Media ad spending actuals we can get a directional read on the accuracy of AIR research-based predictions.

So how well did AIR Wave 16 (Fall 2011) predict the Q1 / Q2 2012 Kantar findings? Let’s take a look.

In Wave 16 (and now in Wave 17), AIR reported a new trend taking place: interest in digital display advertising was waning, compared to interest in mobile and digital video. Sure enough, Kantar Media reported that spending on digital display advertising actually dropped in the first half of 2012, compared to the first half of 2011.

There were similar parallels in television. AIR identified a significant gap in optimism between cable and broadcast networks; respondents who planned to increase cable spending significantly outnumbered those who planned to decrease, while broadcast network television advertiser optimism was quite a bit lower. Kantar found a similar gap in spending, with a 5.7% increase for cable, compared to 3.5% for broadcast.

And print? The pessimism that advertisers expressed for print was focused primarily on national newspapers, which was borne out by the Kantar data: newspapers and magazine budgets dropped 3.5% and 3%, respectively.

Overall, AIR predicted modest optimism for media in the first half of 2012. Likewise, Kantar reported modest increases in ad spending for the first half of 2012, increasing 1.9% over 2011.

AIR Wave 16 surveyed more than 1200 advertising decision-makers representing the largest advertisers in sixteen major advertising categories, so it isn’t surprising that the plans they reported track closely to actual spending. The 2012 AIR Waves are even more robust, so we look forward to reporting how the Wave 17 ad spending predictions will play out in comparison to second half 2012 actuals.

When last year’s foresight matches this year’s hindsight, it validates the Advertiser Intelligence Report’s insight.

Note: Kantar “actual” data acquired from two Kantar Media press releases, dated June 18th and September 10th 2012.