Kantar Media has released its final tallies for 2011 ad spending across media, and the results are a mixed bag. They suggest that advertisers value TV, are losing faith in consumer magazines and newspapers (no news there), and are on the fence about digital advertising.
Surprisingly hard hit were Sunday magazines (like Parade, The Boston Globe Magazine and the New York Times Magazine). Presumably this is because print newspaper subscriberships are down, and readers tend to cut out the expensive Sunday editions to save money, before they cancel daily subscriptions.
Big winners: Spanish-language media, and TV syndication.
Spanish-language TV was up 8.3% year-over-year, versus 2.4% for TV overall. Spanish-language magazines were up 24.9% YoY, defying a 0.4% decline for all magazines.Syndicated TV was up 15.4% over that 2.4% for TV overall (due in part to the astounding success of “The Big Bang Theory” which hit syndication in Q3).
The Year Overall
Total advertising expenditures increased an unimpressive 0.8% in 2011 and finished the year at $144.0 billion. Ad spending during the fourth quarter of 2011 dropped 1.0% versus the year ago period, the first quarterly decline since the end of 2009. Since reaching a post-recession peak in Q3 2010, advertising growth rates have slowed sequentially for five consecutive quarters.
“The contrast of resilient TV spending and waning budget allocations to other traditional media was plainly evident at the end of 2011,” said Jon Swallen, SVP Research at Kantar Media Intelligence North America. “Some mature digital media formats were also touched by the year-end tide of reduced spending. Whether this is an isolated occurrence or an early sign of digital dollars moving more quickly towards emerging and unmeasured digital platforms bears watching as 2012 unfolds.”
Measured Ad Spending By Media
Television continued to lead the ad market in the fourth quarter. Network TV expenditures jumped 7.7% year-over-year and were helped by strong pricing for football, a baseball World Series that went the maximum seven games and the launch of “The X Factor” singing competition program. The rate of Cable growth eased during Q4, finishing at +2.4% as higher demand from restaurants and retailers was offset by reductions from consumer packaged goods. For the full year, Network TV decreased by 2.0% while Cable rose 7.7%.
Spanish language TV ad spending surged 19.1% in fourth quarter, paced by higher sell-out levels at over-the-air networks. For all of 2011, the segment increased 8.3%.
Syndication TV benefitted from higher spending by department stores and health & beauty brands and saw expenditures soar 11.0% in Q4. Full year spending advanced by 15.4%.
Spot TV expenditures fell 8.7% in the fourth quarter but the more significant indicator was that November and December spending were each down, despite easy comparisons against diminished, post-election spending volume of a year ago. Full year Spot TV spending dropped 4.5%.
Free Standing Inserts achieved healthy gains in the fourth quarter with spend rising 3.0%. Although manufacturers have been distributing fewer FSI coupons, retailer promotion pages have increased significantly and this contributed to the improvement.
Ad expenditures for measured digital media declined in the fourth quarter. Paid Search budgets were 6.4% lower versus a year ago with continuing reductions from financial, insurance and local service advertisers. Display investments decreased 5.9% in Q4, dragged down by smaller budgets from auto manufacturers, telecom providers and travel companies. For the entire year, Paid Search declined 2.8% and Display increased 5.5%.
Magazine ad spending eroded at year end. Consumer Magazines declined 5.2% in the fourth quarter due to deep cutbacks in auto, food and pharmaceutical advertising. Total year expenditures were level compared to prior year. Outlays in Sunday Magazines fell 9.8% in Q4, the sixth consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines, and were down 7.2% for all of 2011.
Local Newspaper ad expenditures fell 3.9% during the fourth quarter, hurt by the reallocation of retailer advertising budgets to other media channels during the key holiday shopping season. Full year spending was 3.8% lower. The losses in Newspaper spending are consistent with reductions in the amount of space sold.
The pace of spending in Radio media also sagged. Local Radio expenditures were down 3.8% and National Spot Radio plummeted 13.9% in the fourth quarter. The telecom, financial service and automotive categories were prime contributors to these quarterly decreases.
Measured Ad Spending By Advertiser
Spending among the ten largest advertisers in 2011 reached $16,061.6 million, a 2.8% decline compared to a year ago. Among the Top 100 marketers, a diversified group that represents over two-fifths of all measured ad expenditures, full year budgets were down 0.2%.
For the ninth consecutive year, Procter & Gamble was the top advertiser with spending of $2,949.1 million down 5.4% compared to last year. While TV is still the foundation of its advertising media buys, P&G’s 2011 budget allocation saw share gains for magazines at the expense of TV.
AT&T was the second largest advertiser in 2011 with expenditures of $1,924.6 million, a decline of 11.7%. Media budgets were severely curtailed during the fourth quarter when the company abandoned its attempted acquisition of T-Mobile, triggering large breakup fees and a huge earnings loss. At Verizon Communications, full year ad spending was $1,636.9 million, a decrease of 11.8%. After a string of quarterly budget cuts dating to early 2010, Verizon sharply boosted its spending during the last quarter.
The largest growth rate among the Top Ten marketers was posted by Chrysler, up 36.2% to $1,193.0 for the full year. The increase was driven by marketing introductions for several new or redesigned models, coupled with the improved sales climate for new vehicles. In contrast, General Motors lowered its 2011 outlays by 16.1% to $1,784.1 million. Q4 media budgets dropped 24.7%. As factory support has been trimmed, GM dealers have been bearing a larger share of the overall marketing effort.
L’Oreal investments in 2011 rose 18.1% to $1,343.5 million as the company expanded marketing support for the L’Oreal Paris, Maybelline and Garnier brand lines. Comcast (+11.3%, to $1,577.2 million) and Time Warner (+5.8%, to $1,279.4 million) also posted full year spending gains.
Measured Ad Spending By Category
Expenditures for the ten largest categories grew 3.3% in 2011 and reached $81,629.2 million.
Automotive was the leading category in dollar volume and finished 2011 at $13,890.4 million, up 6.3%. Category spending growth became increasingly bifurcated during the year with Tier 2 and Tier 3 dealer budgets continuing to expand and Tier 1 manufacturer expenditures flattening.
Miscellaneous Retail, which is comprised of all retail segments except Department Stores and Home Improvement purveyors, was the second largest category with 2011 expenditures of $10,019.5 million, up 4.0%. Robust ad spending during the critical year-end holiday season bolstered results.
Insurance registered the largest growth rate among the Top Ten categories with a 13.5% gain to $5,519.0 million. Aggressive competition among auto insurers to gain market share continues to drive media budgets higher.
Financial Services totaled $9,059.9 million of spending, a 3.6% increase. Growth has been fueled by the credit card segment, offsetting continued weakness in ad budgets for investment products and retail banking.
The Telecom category lost ground as 2011 expenditures fell 5.8% to $8,649.0 million. Declines were most pronounced among the leading wireless service advertisers. Aggregates expenditures from TV service providers also slowed.
Top Spending Advertisers Within Select Media
The top ten TV advertisers spent $10,115.4 million in the medium during 2011, down 0.8% from a year ago. This group accounted for 14.9% of total TV expenditures by all advertisers.
The ten largest Internet advertisers invested a total of $2,360.6 million in paid search and display campaigns, up 10.0% versus a year ago. Despite fragmentation on the web, the group accounted for 10.9% share of all Internet ad dollars.
The top ten advertisers in Hispanic Media spent $1,403.6 million during 2011, an increase of 29.2%. This group accounted for 24.7% of all Hispanic Media expenditures, the largest Top Ten share concentration of any medium.
Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising—an increase of 18% since 2007, according to a new study from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising with 70% of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust this platform, an increase of 15% in four years.
Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey of more than 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries shows that while nearly half (47%) of consumers around the world say they trust paid television, magazine and newspaper ads, confidence declined by 24%, 20% and 25% respectively since 2009. Still, the majority of advertising dollars are spent on traditional or paid media, such as television. In 2011, overall global ad spend saw a seven% increase over 2010, according to Nielsen’s most recent Global AdView Pulse. This growth in spend was driven by a nearly 10% increase in television advertising, with countries, including the U.S. and China, attracting more advertising dollars versus the year prior.
“While brand marketers increasingly seek to deploy more effective advertising strategies, Nielsen’s survey shows that the continued proliferation of media messages may be impacting how well they resonate with their intended audiences on various platforms,” said Randall Beard, global head, Advertiser Solutions at Nielsen. “Although television advertising will remain a primary way marketers connect with audiences due to its unmatched reach compared to other media, consumers around the world continue to see recommendations from friends and online consumer opinions as by far the most credible. As a result, successful brand advertisers will seek ways to better connect with consumers and leverage their goodwill in the form of consumer feedback and experiences.”
Nielsen’s survey shows that 58% of global online consumers trust “owned media,” such as messages on company websites, and 50% find content in emails they consented to receive to be credible.
Forty percent of global respondents find product placements in TV programs to be credible, while 42% trust radio ads and 41% trust pre-movie cinema messages.
Trust in Online Ads
Thirty-six percent of global online consumers report trust in online video ads, and 33% believe messages in online banner ads, up from 26% in 2007. Ads viewed in search engine results are trusted by 40% of global respondents in Nielsen’s survey, up from 34% in 2007. Sponsored ads on social networking sites are deemed credible by 36% of global respondents.
“The growth in trust for online search and display ads over the past four years should give marketers increased confidence in putting more of their ad dollars into this medium,” said Beard. “Many companies are already increasing their paid advertising activity on social networking sites, in part due to the high level of trust consumers place in friends’ recommendations and online opinions. Brands should be watching this emerging ad channel closely as it continues to grow.”
Trust in Mobile Ads
According to Nielsen’s survey, one-third of global respondents trust video or banner display ads on mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones. Approximately one-third (29%) of global online consumers said they trust mobile phone text ads, an increase of 21% since 2009 and 61% since 2007.
When considering ad relevance, 50% of global online consumers find TV ads to be personally relevant when they are looking for information on products they want or need, particularly among consumers in the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan, where 65% find TV ads to be highly pertinent to their needs. By contrast, 30% of European respondents consider TV ads to be relevant.
One-third (33%) of global respondents find online banners ads to be relevant, compared to ads on social networks (36%) and online video ads (36%). Forty two% of global consumers find ads in search engine results relevant.
“The high cost of advertising in today’s fragmented media world forces marketers to strive for the most effective and efficient ads,” said Beard. “In order to boost advertising ROI, marketers need to make sure an ad’s content and message is relevant to the consumer who sees it. While we expect to see high relevance levels in ads where the consumer is actively seeking information, such as on a brand’s own website or solicited emails, Nielsen’s survey shows that there is still much potential for marketers looking to reach the right audience through advertiser-driven messages.”
It is worse than we thought, reports Ad Age. A study of consumer habits commissioned by Time Warner and conducted by Boston’s Innerscope Research found that consumers in their 20s (the so-called "digital natives") switch media venues 27 times per nonworking hour; roughly 13 times during a half-hour TV broadcast.
The study had just 30 participants, and as Ad Age described it, offers some insight into a generation that “always has a smartphone at arm's length and flips from a big TV set to a smaller tablet screen and back again at a moment's notice.”
The study was a 50/50 mix of digital natives and “digital immigrants” who grew up on TV and radio, but adapted to smart phones and
The study's subjects were split evenly between natives and "digital immigrants" (consumers who grew up with old-school technologies, such as TV, radio and print, and adapted to newer ones). The immigrants showed more patience, switching media venues 17 in a nonworking hour versus 27 for the natives.
The participants wore both biometric belts to measure their physical responses, and glasses with embedded cameras to track their platforms and durations while watching 300 hours of programming. They channel- and media-surfed at a dizzying rate, “Looking for…engaging content, and they dismiss so much stuff,” Dan Albert, senior VP-media director at Chicago's MARC USA agency told Ad Age.
The challenge, said an interviewee from Unilever, becomes that if consumers are “snacking” on short amounts of input, then marketers and advertisers must communicate in “snack-like bits of messaging.” Unilever owns both the Dove and Axe brands, among dozens of others.
One (expensive) method of capturing their attention is to “surround” consumers with ads that appear across several venues, as long as the viewer is tuned to the same content. So American Express might run a print ad in a magazine, plus pre-roll ads on the magazine’s digital version and smartphone and tablet apps. Presumably, Facebook and targeted ads reach those consumers as well, for additional exposures.
A Q4 2011 Nielsen survey found that 45% of U.S. consumers who owned tablets use them daily while watching TV, with similar results among smart phone users.
The average cost-per-click on a Google search ad returns a value of $10 per click for each keyword, finds a Washington University (St. Louis) research team. Maybe more.
As the university describes, the researchers found that the value of Google search advertising is grossly underestimated, because conventional methods of measuring return on investment (ROI) of online search ads fails to account for “cross-channel sales spillover.”
Dr. Tat Chan of the university’s Olin Business School and his colleagues developed an empirical method that to estimates the lifetime value of customers acquired from search advertising, and from multiple data sources. This method provides advertisers with a long-term and more complete measure of the value of customers acquired via Google search.
Google’s total advertising revenues in 2010 were $28 billion, up from $439 million in 2002.
As the researchers described, an advantage of search advertising is that it creates a better fit between a potential customer’s needs and the advertised message. It reaches a large audience with immediate interest in the product, so, both stimulates sales among existing customers and helps acquire new customers.
But conventional methods of measurement were insufficient. They “Just [look] at online transactions, that are one-time transactions,” says Ying Xie, PhD, associate professor of marketing. “But in our method we propose that we should think about the customer’s lifetime value…they could be an active customer, repeatedly making purchases. The cumulative amount of these purchases — that’s the profit stream we should take into account.”
The researchers merged web traffic and sales data from a small U.S. company to create an individual customer-level panel that tracks repeat purchases, both online and off-line, and identifies if those purchases were referred from Google search advertising.
The results demonstrated that customers acquired through Google search advertising showed a higher transaction rate than customers acquired from other channels. Taking into account future purchases and spillover to off-line channels (e.g., the customer bypasses the web for a second purchase), the calculated value of new customers is far higher than the value obtained using conventional methods.
The team developed an integrated model of customer lifetime, transaction rate and gross margin. Based on their model’s estimates, they find that the firm would incur a loss of $48 on average to acquire a new customer if using the conventional method. But after accounting for sales spillovers across channels and the long-term effect, they estimate the value of customer acquisition as high as $950 per customer.
The challenge of this new multichannel online/offline methodology is that it is not yet standardized; Nielsen, comScore and other companies are still perfecting the methods of quantifying exposures across media: quantifying the ultimate ROI is the likely next evolution.
The team presented its findings in its paper, “Measuring the Lifetime Value of Customers Acquired from Google Search Advertising,” which took the University’s 2012 Olin Award for relevant and performance-enhancing applications to critical management issues. The Olin Award for faculty research was initiated in 2007 by Richard Mahoney, executive-in-residenceat Olin and former chairman and CEO of Monsanto Co.
- A New York appeals court has resurrected “an epic copyright case over whether Google should be liable for movies and tv shows uploaded to YouTube” during its early days, reports PaidContent. A lower court judge had dismissed the case in 2010 stating that Google was protected by a “safe harbor” law distanced hosting sites from infringing content uploaded by third parties. Viacom counters that Google actively enabled and encouraged the practice, and claims it is owed $1 billion in royalties over 79,000 clips of shows like “John Stewart” and “South Park.”
- Twitter is opening offices in Detroit, “looking for better proximity to car companies with hefty ad budgets” according to a Reuter’s story. This following a notable financial recovery by General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler from years of restructuring and depressed auto sales. Google. Google claims it will have a "handful" of employees in Detroit, focused on working first-hand with automotive brands and advertising agencies.
- Elsewhere in Twitter news, it is actively protecting users and advertisers against spammers. The company said on its blog that “Our engineers continue to combat spammers’ efforts to circumvent our safeguards, and today we’re adding another weapon to our arsenal: the law…we filed suit in federal court in San Francisco against five of the most aggressive tool providers and spammers. With this suit, we’re going straight to the source.” As ClickZ details, the defendants include three companies and two individuals: TweetAttacks; TweetAdder; TweetBuddy; James Lucero; and Garland Harris. “By shutting down tool providers, we will prevent other spammers from having these services at their disposal,” stated Twitter.” Further, we hope the suit acts as a deterrent to other spammers, demonstrating the strength of our commitment to keep them off Twitter.
- Facebook is also cracking down on spam, reports ClickZ. It has filed three separate lawsuits in federal court this week, alleging violations of the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, (known as CAN-SPAM). The suits name two individuals, Steven Richter and Jason Swan, and one company, Max Bounty, Inc., of “using deceptive practices to trick Facebook members into handing over personal information, spamming friends or signing up for fake offers.” These filings come just two days after the Wall Street Journal alleged that makers of the top-10 Facebook apps (including Zynga of FarmVille fame) were transmitting Facebook User IDs to outside companies, violating Facebook's terms of service. Bad timing, with an IPO pending that is heavily dependent upon advertiser value.
- Time Warner Cable is promising an app for Android-based phones and tablets before Memorial Day, reports Multichannel News. But, not many Android devices currently on the market will be able to run it. The TWC TV app will run only on devices that support Google's Android 4.0 (known as “Ice Cream Sandwich”), and which few devices yet support. Still says TWC, it is “The only version of the Android OS that allows us the security and stability necessary to distribute video over our private network." The TWC TV apps for iPad released in April 2010, followed by versions for iPhone and iPod touch.
- Fox has taken an equity stake in an interactive television technology provider (ACTV8), reports MediaBistro. Fox will "ACTV8" several its primetime series, beginning with the “New Girl” second screen app, now which is available on iTunes App Store for iPhones and will be available on iPad and Android platforms in the coming weeks. Using the apps, viewers can interact during live broadcasts of Fox shows by chatting in real time, earning badges by watching and answering episodic trivia.
- In search-engine marketing news, Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) browser has started to regain share of the browser market, reports ClickZ. It does so at the expense of rival browsers, particularly Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome. According to data from Net Applications, IE has increased its market share by 2% from December 2011 to March 2012, for a total of 53.8%. The browser was losing share before that, losing more than 5% of users between May and December 2011. Firefox usage has declined since May 2011 through March 2012, dropping 2% for 20.6% of the market.
- Turner Sports lost some digital traffic with its streaming NCAA coverage, reports Multichannel News. Between paid subscriptions and the trials of TV Everywhere authentication, Turner Sports traffic to NCAA.com and March Madness Live broadband and mobile services declined 6% from the 2011 basketball tourney, to a still colossal 51.6 million visits, between March 11 and the April 2 title game. On a daily basis, NCAA.com and March Madness Live averaged 1.1 million daily unique visitors, which was down 10% from 2011, and averaged 473,000 daily uniques on mobile, down 1%.
- Google Ads has created a Google + page for advertising partners, where it will provide the latest Google advertising product news; training and events; tips; and Google Hangouts, with product experts. Google is promising that advertisers can “Stay ahead of the curve with the latest launches and updates for Google's advertising solutions, including search, display, mobile, social, YouTube and Google Analytics. Receive how-to information, best practices, and recommendations.” The latest how-to entry is “Fast facts about targeting ads to the modern digital mom.”
- “New dads are big-time social media newsers,” reports eMarketer. Fathers, particularly first-time fathers, engage in the same social media activities that new mothers do, according to a February survey by Edelman and The Parenting Group. The survey revealed that that 42% of new U.S. fathers who use social networks write family-related status updates on a daily basis. Further, 56% of new dads post family photos at least a few times a week, while 21% post family-related videos.
comScore has released an analysis of mobile and Wi-Fi Internet usage on smartphones in the United States and United Kingdom. Based on census-level behavioral data from comScore Device Essentials, the report studied the share of unique smartphones connecting to operator and Wi-Fi networks to provide insight into Internet connection patterns across markets. Among its findings, the analysis shows a significantly higher percentage of iPhones than Android phones connecting to the Internet via Wi-Fi networks.
“With the rise in adoption of smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices, network operators have seen a surge in mobile web activity and face new challenges in keeping up with data demands while maintaining their quality of service,” said Serge Matta, comScore President of Operator and Mobile Solutions. “As bandwidth usage increases and the spectrum becomes more scarce, operators, OEMs, and others in the mobile ecosystem should understand the different dynamics between the use of mobile and Wi-Fi networks to develop strategies to optimize resources and provide their customers with continued high-quality network service.”
iPhone Users Significantly More Likely to Use Wi-Fi than Android Users
A U.S. analysis of Wi-Fi and mobile Internet usage across unique smartphones on the iOS and Android platforms reveals that 71% of all unique iPhones used both mobile and Wi-Fi networks to connect to the Internet, while only 32% of unique Android mobile phones used both types of connections. A further analysis of this pattern of behavior in the U.K. shows consistent results, as 87% of unique iPhones used both mobile and Wi-Fi networks for web access compared to a lower 57% of Android phones.
U.K. Smartphones Show Higher Incidence of Wi-Fi Use Compared to U.S.
The comScore analysis also revealed that 69% of total unique smartphones in the U.K. browsed the Internet via both mobile and Wi-Fi network connections, compared to just 38% of U.S unique smartphones. U.S. smartphones on the AT&T network were more likely to use Wi-Fi than those on other major operator networks, likely due to AT&T having both a greater iPhone market share and the largest Wi-Fi hotspot network in America. In the U.K., smartphones on the Vodafone, Telefonica and Orange networks were more likely to use Wi-Fi than were others on other U.K. operators.
“The difference in mobile and Wi-Fi network usage across the U.S. and U.K. suggests that there are a few factors at play affecting Wi-Fi utilization rates,” said Matta. “In the U.K., the scarcity of unlimited data plans and higher incidence of smartphone pre-paid contracts with a pay-as-you-go data model likely contributes to data offloading among users wanting to economize their mobile usage. In addition, the current lack of high-speed data networks in the U.K. might also lead users to seek out higher bandwidth capacity on Wi-Fi networks. In the U.S., the increased availability of LTE, 4G and other high-speed data networks currently make it less necessary for smartphone users to offload, but it’s also possible that the diminishing availability of unlimited cellular data plans will eventually push more usage to Wi-Fi.”
Microsoft’s Peter Yang on the company’s Microsoft Advertising blog site described numerous changes in location targeting, aimed at improving campaign performance.
“To optimize targeting in the U.S. and Canada, we will remove about 10,000 cities from adCenter targeting in May. Because these cities have seen no measurable traffic, this change will have no negative impact on the performance of your campaigns.” Users targeting a city that will be removed are advised to update settings to target a city supported by adCenter to gain more traffic. The company offers a spreadsheet of those areas (see above link), which lists 10,807 locations, plus their alternates. Someone in Flordell Hills, Missouri for example will switch to nearby Ferguson.
In answer to some FAQS about the changes:
Will this change have any negative impact on my campaign / ad group performance?
No. You are likely to see an increase in impressions if you switch your targeting to a city supported by adCenter.
Do I need to make any changes for campaigns / ad groups that are targeting multiple cities, some of which will no longer be supported by adCenter targeting?
No. adCenter will simply remove the non-supported cities from targeting options and your campaign/ad group will continue to serve ads on other targeted locations.
When will this change occur in May?
Microsoft plans to remove the non-supported cities from adCenter targeting in mid to late May.
Will this change affect other countries outside of the U.S. and Canada?
No. In May, Microsoft only plans to remove non-supported cities in the U.S. and Canada from adCenter targeting options.
- Advertisers may want to target female sports fans more often, and through social media ads, reports ClickZ. In a joint study from Visible Technologies and Applebee’s (the casual dining chain), Visible studied 125 million social media posts over a recent three-month period, to find that 31% of sports chatter on social comes from women, a result which Visible calls "surprisingly strong" compared to past findings. Carly Wilcox, director of professional services at Visible, suggested that advertisers should take note that consumers (women in particular) are incrementally shifting in terms of where they spend their time and show their interests. Whatever they are consuming, be it sports paraphernalia or beauty products, “Women are powerhouse purchasers and the sluggish movement...to capitalize on such an active group is a huge oversight in the industry," said Wilcox.
- Comedy Central has announced the launch of “Comedy Central’s Indecision’ Election Companion,” an iOS-optimized election news and political humor app. The “Election Companion” app, sponsored by AT&T, is available now as a free iTunes download for iPhones and iPads and provides users with exclusive jokes, interactive content, photo galleries and second-screen experiences. The app delivers iPad and iPhone users exclusive politics-centric content through an iOS-optimized version of the “Indecision” blog; a photo gallery called “Snap Shots,” which captures the 24-hour news cycle in images and jokes; a 2012 Election Calendar; and an app-only exclusive “Peanut Gallery” commentary feature, which provides a second-screen experience for nationally-televised political talk shows, debates and speeches. The “Peanut Gallery” also includes exclusive live commentary from Indecision bloggers and special guests, and offers real-time interactive “Reacticons” for users to register their opinions. For example, users can post “Reacticons” such as “Cry-Baby,” “Dunce,” “Yawn,” “Knock-Out” or “Bulls#*!” to express their reactions as they watch candidates and talking heads on their TV screens. The “Reacticons” will then grow and shrink to reflect the Indecision community’s collective opinion in real time.
- Google, “undaunted by a short-lived  attempt to market and sell smartphones on its own,” plans to sell its own tablets in direct competition to the Apple iPad, reports the Wall Street Journal. Google will sell the co-branded tablets directly to consumers through an Apple- and Amazon-like online store. The move, speculates the Journal, is to turn around “sluggish sales” of tablets running Google’s Android platform.
Facebook Inc. is preparing its initial public offering for May, reports the New York Post, citing “people familiar with the matter.” Facebook halted trading of its shares on the secondary market this week, as it sets about nailing down its shareholder count, say the anonymous sources. Facebook filed for an IPO in early February, and the IPO is expected to raise as much as $10 billion and value the eight-year-old company at $100 billion. Facebook netted $1 billion in 2011 on $3.71 billion in revenue, and currently has 845 million users globally.
Advertising research firm BIA/Kelsey projects that U.S. companies will spend $136.2 billion on local advertising, between traditional, online and mobile ads, in 2012, reports eMarketer. That number will climb toward $151.3 billion by the end of 2016.
As we reported yesterday, BIA/Kelsey chief economist Mark Fratrik told Media Life that digital with its lower cost-per-thousand impressions (CPMs) makes sense for smaller businesses, as well as with its more targeted reach: a print ad in a local paper, or broadcast ad on a local news station, cannot target the 12-mile radius that a plumber may wish to reach, but targeted digital ads can.
Traditional spends will grow but in the low single digits, versus in the teens for digital. Still, with its lower percentage of overall spend, the overall spends will grow annually between 1 and 4%.
Though total U.S. local ad spending should grow slowly over the next four years, digital ad spending will grow by double digits, driven largely by social, mobile and video advertising. By 2016, the firm projects that local digital ad spending will tip the scales at $38.5 billion, more than 25% of total local ad spending, up from 16% in 2012.
“From 2010 to 2011, we saw a 2.4% decline in local ad spending,” said BIA/Kelsey CEO Tom Buono at the ILM-East conference in Boston on March 26. “We were projecting a decline originally, but it’s a lot more severe than we expected because of the economy. Therefore, in our projections moving forward, we’re less bullish than we were.”