According to the most recent forecast of US ad spending by eMarketer, US advertisers will spend $178.27 billion on paid media in 2014, up 4.1% over this year’s spending levels. Spending growth for next year will be up from 2013 with help from the Winter Olympics, the FIFA World Cup, and the midterm elections. eMarketer also expects TV to continue to capture the largest share of paid ad spending in the US for the foreseeable future, although its percentage of total spending will drop slightly, from 38.9% this year to 38.4% in 2017, as spending on TV ads grows more slowly than spending on paid media as a whole.
Video is Fastest Growing Digital Format
eMarketer expects digital media will gain the most share during the forecast period. Among digital formats, video remains the fastest-growing—although from a small base compared to giants like search or banner advertising. And even with the rapid rise of digital video viewership and ad spending, levels of spending on online and mobile video fall far below spending on TV. Even by 2017, eMarketer expects digital video spending to reach only around one-eighth of what is spent on television ads. Now, eMarketer bases its forecast of US ad spending on the analysis of various elements related to the ad spending market, including macro-level economic conditions; historical trends of the advertising market; historical trends of each medium in relation to other media; reported revenues from major ad publishers; estimates from other research firms; consumer media consumption trends; and eMarketer interviews with executives at ad agencies, brands, media publishers and other industry leaders.
But Video Growth is Unpredictable
What’s wrong with this methodology? It’s like using the Old Farmer’s Almanac to make long range weather forecasts. It’s useful to know full moon dates, weather history, sunrise and sunset times, best planting dates, and folklore. But trends in the online video and internet marketing industries rarely move in predictable patterns because technical innovations and paradigm shifts can change our underlying assumptions in unpredictable ways. In fact, eMarketer had to revise its forecast for 2013 upward primarily as a result of upward revisions to expected spending on digital and mobile advertising this year. So, what might turn the rising tide that is lifting digital video viewership and ad spending into the perfect storm could unexpectedly accelerate digital video spending? There are three key reasons why you should keep your weather eye open for the Winter Olympics, the FIFA World Cup, and the midterm elections.
Video Ad Opportunities: The Winter Olympics
I expect Unruly will create a Brand Tracker interactive infographic for the Winter Olympics in 2014 just as it did for the Summer Olympics in 2012. And I predict that P&G will take home the gold again, just as it did two years ago, in the race for social videos from official Olympic sponsors that generate the most social media buzz.
Why will P&G win the gold medal in the social video race yet again? As Damon Runyon once said, “The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet.”
And why will P&G’s repeat performance at the Olympics change any assumptions? It will demonstrate that Dr. Karen Nelson-Field of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science is right. In January 2013, she said, “Predicting a social video hit is no longer about luck. Videos that elicit high intensity, positive emotions are three times more likely to be shared than videos that elicit low intensity, negative emotions. It means CMOs can now confidently predict the effectiveness of their content marketing investment.”
Video Ad Opportunities: The 2014 FIFA World Cup
In her recent book Viral Marketing: The Science of Sharing, Dr. Nelson-Field revealed that exhilaration is the emotion that’s most likely (65%) to help brands cut through the clutter and help viewers recall their message. Hilarity, the most overused emotional trigger, is the second, with 51% recall. Going into 2014, this trend will only get stronger as the world’s gaze falls upon Brazil for the World Cup. When Unruly trained its algorithmic tool to predict viral success in the Brazilian market, the marketing technology company discovered that exhilaration was the most effective emotional trigger in the Latin American country, more effective than humor, which is the most popular emotional sharing trigger in the US and UK.
I predict that Nike, which hijacked the World Cup in 2010, will score exhilarating goals again in 2014. Nike wasn’t an “official” sponsor four years ago. Nevertheless, “Nike Write The Future - World Cup 2010 Commercial” demonstrated that the open distribution and virality of the web had created a whole new path for ambush marketing.
Why will Nike’s repeat performance during the World Cup change any assumptions? The marketers who have paid World Cup fees totaling $1.4 billion for the four-year period through 2014 – including adidas, which is paying $44 million per year to be a global partner – will start doing a new cost/benefit analysis before paying to be a sanctioned sponsor again.
Video Ad Opportunities: The Midterm Elections
Virtually everyone in politics noted the impact of “New Yorkers for de Blasio TV Ad: ‘Dante’” on the outcome of the Mayor’s race in New York City.
Who knew the endorsement by your son could elicit a strong viewer response against at least one psychological trigger and multiple social motivations to achieve close to 375,000 views and a high share rate. During the 2014 midterm elections for the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, we’ll see plenty of “surprise endorsements” by spouses, children, siblings, and in-laws. Why? As a CNN/ORC International poll released last week found, two-thirds of those questioned said the current Congress is the worst in their lifetime.
“That sentiment exists among all demographic and political subgroups. Men, women, rich, poor, young, old – allo think this year’s Congress has been the worst they can remember,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Older Americans – who have lived through more congresses – hold more negative views of the 113th Congress than younger Americans. Republicans, Democrats and independents also agree that this has been the worst session of Congress in their lifetimes.”
And according to the survey, 73% say that this Congress has so far done nothing to address the country's problems. So, who else is likely to endorse an incumbent who is seeking re-election? Fortunately, because of YouTube’s new comment system, these political candidates will have new tools to review comments before they’re posted, block certain words, or save time by auto-approving comments from certain fans. These features can help them spend less time moderating comments by trolls and haters on YouTube, and more time fending off family feuds on Facebook.
Upward Revisions To Expected Video Ad Spending
The Winter Olympics, the FIFA World Cup, and the midterm elections are the three key reasons why I predict a perfect storm will accelerate digital video spending dramatically. This is also why I expect eMarketer to revise its forecast for 2014 upward primarily as a result of the rapid rise of digital video viewership and ad spending. Of course, if I’m wrong, then I think it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that the editors at the Old Farmer’s Almanac won’t be asking me to predict the trends in fashion, food, home décor, living, and technology for the following year.