Low investment in good quality creative holding back digital publishing

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There is a mismatch in investment between digital media technology and the advertising creative served through it, Google's head of publishers has said. Speaking at a Mediatel and Enreach event on Friday, David McMurtrie announced that one of the biggest challenges for digital publishing is to improve the quality of advertising.

"The investment in good quality creative hasn't followed the technology," he said.

"That has got to change because we're all talking about programmatic guarantees, we're all talking about bringing big plans and big budgets into digital and those budgets aren't coming unless we have great quality creative."

Internet adspend is expected to reach £8.1bn in the UK this year, according to the latest data from the Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report. That total is forecast to rise to £9bn next year, a third of which will be spent on mobile advertising.

Total online adspend rose 15% last year, and Warc forecasts further growth of between 11-12% this year and next.

The Internet is already the largest medium for advertising in the UK, surpassing TV in 2010, however numerous effectiveness studies reveal that television outranks digital. 

Likewise, the majority of Gunn Report Creative Award scores (77%) are for TV commercials.

Jenny Biggam, owner of the7stars, the UK's largest independent media agency, said that if the quality of the communication was better, then ad blocking would also be less of an issue.

"As an industry, I don't think we've helped ourselves with some of the more basic data analysis, re-targeting or people not frequency capping properly," she said.

"I think people have been over-exposed to messaging that's not particularly relevant or appealing and therefore ad blocking becomes something people choose to do."

According research from RAPP Media, only 10% of consumers are more likely to buy something after seeing the same ad served repeatedly because of their previous web surfing behaviour, while 53% said that online ads are initially interesting and useful but the more they are repeated the more irritating they become.

Mark Cranmer, chairman of Magnetic, the new marketing body for magazine media, said that an alternative approach for publishers could be to re-think the entire relationship between consumers and publishers.

"There's a big elephant in the room and I don't think anybody has invested enough in trying to nurture the creative environment that can be monetised," he said.

"Should we be thinking about changing the rules of the consumer? The consumer gets a lot for free - is there a different way we can monetise that relationship?

"I think there is some fascinating product development out there...and I think we'll shortly see some people being brave enough to be pioneers in monetising access."

- Written by David Pidgeon / Mediatel-Newsline.co.uk