Some Good News for Ad Spending -- Unless You're Foursquare

Two Surveys of Media, Brand and Agency Executives Paint a Promising Picture for Ad Spending in 2011

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Two surveys paint a hopeful picture for ad spending in 2011. Strata's fourth-quarter survey of media buyers found just over half of media buyers predicting an increase in business -- the highest percent since the software provider for media buyers began surveying its clients in 2008. Meanwhile, integrated marketing platform developer Alterian's annual survey of agencies, marketers and marketing service providers found 49% predicting that marketing expenditures were likely to increase slightly (5%-25%) and 9% predicting an increase of 25% or more.

Strata's customers are currently most focused on spot TV -- more than two to one over online/digital. That might be changing as 78% said their focus on digital for 2011 was greater than it was last year, the only medium with the majority shifting to it. That looks to come at the expense of all other media, especially print, which had a majority of respondents planning to focus less in 2011.

Unsurprisingly, both surveys focused on digital, mobile and social media. Display is still king even in new media, according to Strata's survey. Eighty percent said online display was the focus of interactive budgets, even on mobile devices, where 60% said they used "display ads on other mobile content" to reach users. Almost two-thirds said that display ads were the mobile ads they were creating most for their clients. Most are interested in advertising on the iPhone (80%) followed by BlackBerry (51%), Android (46%) and the iPad (31%). Other Apple platforms have yet to catch on with only 10% of clients expressing interest in iAd or Apple TV.

Alterian's survey found that 75% planned to increase social and digital spending in 2011, although one-third said they have little or no understanding of the social-media conversation happening around their brand. More than 75% said they felt their brands were at least somewhat at risk from not being as engaged with customers as they should be. The majority (57%) said they were taking action to fix that.

Finally, some more bad news for Foursquare. Location-based advertising still isn't on the radar of 70% of Strata's clients but 25% are already planning to spend on Facebook Places compared to just 14% on Foursquare and 3% on Gowalla.

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