Digital barely a blip on the radar: Nielsen Top Media Advertisers 2008

Digital loves a bit of pumping up its own tyres in it’s never ending quest for eternal yearly growth, but when you look at the latest Top Advertisers Report from Nielsen it seems in the categories that matter digital is barely keeping up with such unsexy cousins as DM, Radio and Cinema.

This is one of those reports commercial/sales director types read and then bang their fists on the desk wondering why their publication isn’t seeing as much of these dollars as they feel they’re entitled. Then they call in their sales team and ask them for a business plan as to how they can extract more out of advertiser x in the next 6-12 months.

The report is summarised in the latest AdNews and doesn’t do online any favours at all.

Retail Category – worth 2bn – Digital share = 1%
Entertainment & Leisure Category – worth 780m – digital share = 3%
Food category – worth 380m – digital share = 1%
Alcohol category – worth 110m – digital share = 3%
Toiletries and Cosmetics – worth $250m – digital share = 1%
Hair Care – worth 60m – digital share =1%
Travel – worth $520m – digital share = 7%
Pharma – worth $240m – digital share = 2%
Mobile Phones – worth $50m – digital share = 6%

Is this correct? Well, I have my doubts but I don’t know the methodology. If it used Nielsen’s horredous AdRelevance product you can pretty much bin the results for digital.

According to this, digital spend in the Entertainement and Leisure Space was around $2.3m across ALL advertisers … I know clients in this space that would have spent that individually in a year.

Leads to the question, why would Nielsen include digital if the methodology is so woefully inaccurate? And shouldn’t it have been checked by relevant industry bodies before being made public.

Plus, shouldn’t this data – if truly reflective and valuable to anyone – include search engine marketing … you know, the $800m+ per annum advertising channel.

Tells a great story for TV and press – doesn’t looking like this digital thing is creating any headaches at all for them maintaining their share.


4 responses to “Digital barely a blip on the radar: Nielsen Top Media Advertisers 2008

  1. Ben,
    As much as I hate to say it, you’re right! I would love to see a report that accurately reflects the advertising spend by category as a percentage share of the total category but have yet to see one in this country!! Firstly, I believe the digital ad spend in this report is based on AdRelevance so it is instantly inaccurate – the only true numbers of ad spend online are those captured and published by PWC for the IAB. And as you say, this does not include the spends by category on search, or classifieds. If the total online ad industry currently represents 14% of the total advertising industry, then I fail to see how these percentages tally up?
    What this does highlight is the need by industry – publishers, agencies, advertisers, networks to have far greater visibility of how advertising dollars are being spent. I understand Nielsen is working on updating AdRelevance but until they can capture actual revenues/cpms, exclude bonus, filler, sponsorships, performance, etc, then the report just won’t be much use to any of us.
    I would also love to see category breakdowns from the search and directories companies, but given the largest of these doesn’t even declare it’s actual revenues in AU, we still have a long way to go!
    Of course, the eternal optimist in me also sees that these percentages, as wildly inaccurate as they are, show, as my school reports used to, that there is much room for improvement!!

  2. talkingdigital

    Very true fish … there is a need to get better figures from a product like AdRelevance as right now it’s just too shallow. I almost think it should be put to bed and thrn brought back when it can address some of the points you make above.

    No point having a tool creating more confusion when ultimately what we want is more clarity.

  3. As well as the obvious inaccuracies of the data Nielsen are reporting on, the absence of a Finance category strikes me as very odd. This would be one of the areas where there is a large investment from clients in the online space but it hasn’t even garnered a mention at all – online or offline.

  4. James D – totally agree with you, Finance was a glaring hole in the results which i fully expected to see. It’s a key area which they should not have missed out…

    In regards to Adrelevance (or Ad-irrelevance) i have this week seen the new online Competitor product from Nielsen which is, surprisingly, alot better.

    They are essentially rolling the online competitive into their AdEx product (the offline competitive system) and have changed their methodology for estimating spends.

    In conjunction with the MFA they have categorised all sites/placements into key genres such as Business/Finance, Entertainment, News etc and have applied industry standard CPM rates which will be applied to the impression volumes to work out spend more accurately.

    This obviously doesn’t even beging to cover off agency ratecards, sponsorships, added value etc but it is a step in the right direction..

    And for a whopping additional annual fee of $XX,XXX you can access the lot via AdEx (it won’t be available in Adrelevance!)

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