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Digiday Media Agency Report 2023: The state and future of the media agency, from client spending to AI’s impact

Image by Ivy Liu

NOVUS’ own Rob Davis contributes his thoughts to the Digiday State and Future of the Media Agency 2023 report.  Here are a few of Rob’s insights. Full report available at Digiday.com.

On Optimism regarding 2024 budgets…

“We have a number of clients asking us to do planning exercise of 25% or 30% increases,” said Rob Davis, president and CMO at NOVUS.  “There is definitely a feeling of bullishness. They’re asking their management teams, ‘Remember how you told us to cut all of the awareness building? It’s killing us. Can we put some of it back?’ At least in the initial planning phase, we’re looking at some pretty big increases in some cases.”

On the 2024 Election impact on local media…

NOVUS’ Davis added that local elections often cause large budget swings because of regional political issues.  “Elections always create chaos in the local marketplace,” Davis said. “The midterms tend to be really nutso because you can get crazy local races in certain pockets that drive up spending, but it definitely generally puts pressure on traditional spot TV and radio. So, it’s a similar trend [to national elections]. It’s just going to be more so in certain states than others.”

On print media…

NOVUS’ Davis said there is still a healthy market for print ads. “It doesn’t get talked about very much, but there’s still hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars, particularly for physical retailers, in print – newspaper and flyers,” Davis said. “We still do a couple hundred million dollars in that space, believe it or not.”

However, Davis added that he has seen traditional print dollars moving into digital. “That has rapidly been shifting into digital, kind of a digitized version of those Sunday flyers,” Davis said. “They still need the traffic driving the immediacy of it, but obviously the consumption of the [print] medium is way down.”

On AI…

NOVUS’ Davis said his agency is tapping into generative AI for its time-saving capabilities. “Somebody on my team is using the free, OpenAI ChatGPT every day,” Davis said. “We were in a brainstorming [meeting] around a name for a new audience segment, and [someone said], ‘Just get on ChatGPT.’ Sometimes it’s silly and small as that, but it’s super practical for saving time – to give us a list of 50 ideas – then we can go work from there.”

Although David did point out that AI already has been at work for some time in the back-end software applications used for programmatic bidding. “AI, or machine learning, is built into almost every DSP in terms of things like bid shading,” Davis said. “We’re talking about it like it’s a new thing, but it’s literally been used.”