Like the 2018 paper before it, the aim of this report with Ebiquity was to identify the truth about media effectiveness for 10 different media types. It also set out to establish the gaps that exist between the reality and the perceptions of reality about which are the most effective media channels, while also identifying the critical media attributes required to grow brands. This is more relevant than ever in these most uncertain of times.

There were four main phases in this collaborative project:

1. Identify what advertisers and agencies consider to be the most important attributes in delivering a campaign that grows a brand in a recessionary period

2. Evaluate how each medium performs against these attributes through a comprehensive review of published research and Ebiquity’s proprietary data sets

3. Contrast this with views gathered from interviews with over 100 advertisers and agencies on how they experience each medium performing – the key to learning how far perception is from reality

4. Produce an overall ranking of relative value of each medium, based on the evidence collected

In short, the findings reveal that the disconnect between perception and the abundant evidence still obtains. To help close this gap, we believe that advertisers need to re-evaluate their approach to media and media planning as a matter of urgency. They need to measure clearly how media impacts the outcomes that matter to them, both in terms of media performance and against commercial objectives. They should then use these insights to inform media planning going forward, for the short term and the long term; for coping with the impact of Covid-19 and beyond.

Overall Findings

  • There is a high degree of alignment between the 2020 and 2018 studies on the five most important media attributes, with building brand salience now the most valued attribute.
  • There is still a significant gap between perceptions of individual media performance against each attribute and what the evidence shows – this overwhelmingly favours digital media.
  • Media spend continues to be driven by perception over evidence, with digital media occupying the top three slots in terms of projected changes in spend for 2021.

Radio-specific findings

  • In terms of the evidence, radio remains the second most valuable medium after TV for successful marketing in a recession.
  • Perceptions of radio are catching up with reality for certain attributes (e.g. Targeting the right people in the right place at the right time; Building brand salience) meaning that radio’s overall perception ranking has improved from 6th to 3rd.
  • These improved perceptions appear to be influencing spending intentions with a net figure of 19% of advertisers planning to invest more in the medium in 2021 vs. pre-COVID 2020 budgets – the highest net shift for any traditional medium.