However, other media including outdoor, radio and print may offer real benefits and maintain the potential for faster growth in the future than in the recent past. This is especially true as they develop their own directly related digital assets.

Outdoor advertising is growing fast

Outdoor advertising is growing faster than the rest of the industry, aside from pure-play digital media. This trend has been affected by: 

  • out-of-home advertising's effectiveness being relatively undiminished by fragmentation or ad avoidance
  • owners of outdoor-related ad inventory who have invested in digital infrastructure, and
  • the widening availability of digital out-of-home inventory from niche providers, which encourages a wider range of advertisers to use the medium and provides some confidence in the long-term opportunities.
Outdoor is also benefiting because there are many fast-growing marketers who believe that the medium is a superior alternative to television when goals are focused around brand building, and target audiences are in geographically narrow areas.

Radio growth is more modest

Radio maintains wide reach and real impact, but growth is more modest; the industry is stable and it should grow by 0 – 1% each year into the future. This is according to GroupM's worldwide media forecasts report This Year, Next Year.

Despite those tepid growth rates, innovation in radio, or 'audio', has recently achieved a more meaningful scale. The medium has the potential to benefit from advertisers looking to stray from pure-play digital and television-based advertising.

Traditional radio has arguably always been very effective, so long as an advertiser is willing to invest in appropriate creative content and manage what can be — in some countries — a relatively fragmented medium.

Podcasting, while modest in size, has seemingly captured the attention of marketers in a meaningful way as well, and programmatic buying of radio is helping to overcome some execution issues in some countries.

We are now at a place where audio can be judged on its own merits, which remains relatively healthy — given the medium's wide reach and high levels of consumption.

Print still sees opportunity despite struggles

Print still struggles, but there are niches with opportunities for long-term growth. While once dominant in almost every country, print now struggles selling advertising and trends look less positive in the future as they indicate a decline of 10% every year going forward.

Print has generally suffered because of the goals that it tried to help large brands meet. An example of this is consumer engagement, which was provided more efficiently by digital media.

By now, what is left of print as a medium can still be very effective for marketers, but the scale is so different that it is best viewed as a niche platform. 

Despite these generally unfavourable growth trends, all marketers should regularly assess opportunities to use media beyond television and pure-play digital in their campaigns. Just because a medium is growing slowly or declining does not mean it cannot be impactful for a marketer now or in the future.

What matters is whether or not the media owner is investing in opportunities to connect with audiences. Marketers also need resources to capitalise on opportunities involving media that are incremental to existing plans. Doing so likely helps to improve the overall impact of their efforts.

Moreover, ongoing investments into alternative sources of media inventory — and finding best practices that exist within them — may help improve the use of traditional TV and digital media; both of which are likely to persist as the dominant forms of media into the future.

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