Email’s Not an Ad Channel, Huh, IAB?
A 16 percent increase in digital advertising spending from 2013 to 2014 isn't too shabby. It's "$49.5 billion in 2014" not-too-shabby, actually, according to the "IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report" from the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
The thing is, the report released on April 22 and prepared by PwC U.S. also has this disclaimer: "*This survey no longer captures email as an advertising format (effective 2014)."
OK, so one could argue that there's a difference between advertising and marketing, and that's true, but email marketers regularly place ads in messages. Marketers advertise. Hence, there's this finding announced on April 2 by the Direct Marketing Association: "Of the seven key channels examined (Mobile, Email, Online Display, Paid Search, Telephone and Direct Mail), Email ranked at the top."
So it could be that researchers are having a bit of trouble separating out channels to study. For instance in January, Bruce A. Biegel—senior managing director of the Winterberry Group—told members of the Direct Marketing Club of New York that "mobile email, social and search are not dumped in the mobile bucket—the other three channels get that credit," according to my Target Marketing article.
Speaking of which, there's another IAB finding with which direct marketers might take issue. "Digital video, a component of display-related advertising, totaled $3.3 billion in full-year 2014, a 17 percent increase over revenues of $2.8 billion in 2013," IAB says. So display-related only? Flimp, for instance, might disagree with that statement—considering the company can place video in email messages, per my 2010 Target Marketing article.
So, with that pinch of salt thrown on the figures, here are IAB's other key findings:
- Mobile advertisers spent $12.5 billion, a 76 percent boost from the prior year's $7.1 billion. "As a result, it is the second largest format, accounting for 25 percent of FY 2014 revenues, a rise over 2013, when it accounted for 17 percent of that year's total."
- Social media ads cost $7 billion in 2014, up by 57 percent.
- Search spend equaled $19 billion, up 3 percent.
- "Display-related advertising revenues in 2014 totaled $13.5 billion or 27 percent of the year's revenues, an uptick of 5 percent over $12.8 billion in 2013."
- Retailers "continue to represent the largest category of Internet ad spending," at 21 percent, with financial services following at 13 percent and automotive in the No. 3 spot, with 12 percent.
What do direct marketers think of all the research that's trying to preserve silos or at least isolate channels? How else should analysts measure marketing?