Google earned higher marks from marketers and ad agencies than any other media company last year, according to the latest annual Advertiser Perceptions research, offering traditional media a discouraging note as they wade into 2013.
ABC was the highest-rated overall media company in 2011, preceded by Meredith Corp., the publisher of Ladies' Home Journal, in 2010. "This is the first time that a digital-media company has made it to the top," said Ken Pearl, CEO of Advertiser Perceptions, whose 2012 results are being released widely on Friday.
Advertiser Perceptions surveys thousands of agencies and marketers every spring and fall, according to the company, to come up with insights for media sellers. "Our clients are those who are selling advertising," Mr. Pearl said. "What they care about more than anything is what advertisers think."
Although Google made its name on search and keyword advertising, its display ad network has also frequently impressed marketers and agencies, Mr. Pearl said.
The good news for traditional publishers is that one of their own, the Meredith Women's Network, ranked highest among digital ad networks for sales knowledge. Several of the top-ranked websites for digital content were also rooted in traditional media: ESPN.com for brand strength, Economist.com for customer service and People.com for advertiser satisfaction, according to the research.
Among broadcast TV networks, NBC rose to the top for brand strength in 2012, a year when NBC carried the Super Bowl and the London Olympics and also saw "The Voice" help expand its audiences. Marketers and agencies ranked ABC's daytime operation tops, however, in sales knowledge and customer service. ABC as a whole ranked first among broadcast TV for advertiser satisfaction, according to Advertiser Perceptions.
Within cable, marketers and agencies chose ESPN for best brand strength, the NFL network for sales knowledge, The Weather Channel for customer service and AMC for advertiser satisfaction.
Among print brands, the best ranked were ESPN The Magazine for brand strength, Cooking Light for sales knowledge, Martha Stewart Living for customer service and Food Network Magazine for advertiser satisfaction.