- Less than half (49%) of marketers’ video promoting budgets will probably be allocated during this 12 months’s upfronts season, continuing the decline of the annual buying season, in keeping with research shared by Advertiser Perceptions. The percentage represents a 7-point drop from last 12 months’s 56% allocation.
- Culling information from greater than 300 executive interviews, the firm found that advertisers expect 40% of their upfront buys will probably be dedicated to connected TV (CTV) inventory and roughly 29% of buys will probably be transacted using alternative currencies.
- The hottest topics throughout the upfronts this 12 months will probably be return on investment/return on ad spend (ROI/ROAS) and data-driven targeting capabilities, per Advertiser Perceptions. Marketers are most keen on campaign guarantees, while agencies are more keen on programming and content.
The upfronts, an annual series of meetings when advertisers commit ad spend upfront of programming scheduled for later within the 12 months, have been losing relevance for a while. Advertiser Perceptions’ latest survey is just one other indicator of how the ad-buying process for programming is evolving amid the rise of streaming, shifting schedules and crunched budgets.
Last 12 months’s upfronts period was affected by recessionary fears and global unrest stemming from the Ukraine war, as well as ongoing concerns about media transparency and fragmentation. Those issues remain front and center in 2023 and will have a good larger impact on promoting plans. While 51% of advertisers increased their upfront spending last 12 months, only 27% in Advertiser Perceptions’ survey intend to extend their spending this 12 months.
“Amid economic uncertainty, advertisers wish to keep ad investments more flexible and prioritize the channels that may show ROI,” said Erin Firneno, vice chairman of business intelligence at Advertiser Perceptions, in a press release. “Looking forward to this 12 months’s Upfront event, platforms and publishers need to deal with these core issues — along with measurement and targeting capabilities — of their presentations to appease advertisers’ concerns and ultimately win their dollars.”
In addition to the impact of external uncertainties, many advertisers are opting to buy much closer to the air dates relatively than hold long-term commitments. This is what happened with this 12 months’s Super Bowl, for which 95% of ads had been sold by September 2022, only to have advertisers sell back inventory, resulting in a surge closer to the sport, Ad Age reported, citing an unnamed source.
Given the uncertainty, some industry watchers imagine a shakeup could also be on the horizon for the upfronts. Samba TV CMO Meredith Brace, in an article for Adweek last 12 months, advocated for a “FlexFront” that will allow advertisers to develop alternate plans that might be adjusted as market conditions and consumer attitudes shift.
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