Nielsen: Digital Dollars May Rise 50%, but Traditional Media Still Vital


NEW YORK – Nielsen’s 2018 Chief Marketing Officer Report says that while 82 percent of marketers expect to increase their digital spending as a percentage of their total ad budget, many still believe traditional media remains critical to brand building and its associated top-of-funnel marketing metrics, including brand awareness, recall, and favorability.  

Television continues to hold its own – named the most important traditional media channel by 51 percent of participating companies; 30 percent of respondents ranked TV as extremely important to their marketing strategy.  

However, less than one-third of respondents plan to increase their traditional media budgets during the next 12 months. Like digital, measuring ROI on traditional media is also a struggle, with just 23 percent saying they were "highly confident" in their ability to track effectiveness. 

Eighty percent of marketers plan to boost their investment in analytics or attribution solutions in the next 12 months. And 73 percent of participants say search and social media are the most important digital channels. 

Less important is mobile display (44 percent) and, last of all, over-the-top (OTT)/connected TV, which only 23 percent feel is a “extremely important” or “very important” part of the digital constellation at this point. Nielsen says OTT is the new kid on the digital block, and the findings support that.

In terms of effectiveness, social media and search both top that list, too, with a matching 69 percent of respondents rating them effective, compared to 60 percent for mobile, 54 percent for programmatic, and 28 percent for OTT.

The report says that 55 percent of respondents allocate at least 40 percent of their ad budget to traditional (TV, print, radio, etc.) media, with one in 10 giving 80 percent or more. But 49 percent say digital media makes up at least 40 percent of their spend, with 19 percent spending 80 percent or more 

Compared to traditional media, these CMOs felt somewhat satisfied with their ability to measure ROI from digital media, with 48 percent claiming to be “somewhat confident” of the data they receive, and 26 percent expressing high levels of confidence. Only 36 percent are “somewhat confident” of ROI data from traditional media sources like TV, and 42 percent express a high level of skepticism. 

The mix of spending on traditional media and digital media is changing, but Nielsen calculated the mean average of responses to determine traditional media averages 36.6 percent of total advertising spend while digital represents 37.6 percent.