Why are big brands moving away from TV? (and onto digital)

Whilst the digital marketing revolution completely transformed how small businesses advertised, with a strong preference for digital marketing over more expensive traditional formats, the big brands were less responsive, continuing to prioritise ploughing money into TV and other Old Media campaigns.

Large brands have realised it’s essential they move into digital marketing channels, but it’s rarely at the expense of their focus on traditional media. But there’s evidence that this is beginning to change.

The rise of Digital First

Digital First is a marketing theory that campaigns should be designed to prioritise new media over old media.

M&S have adopted this digital first approach to their campaigns, launching their first digital Christmas campaign for 2018, announcing that “the world’s moved on from blockbuster Christmas ads”. M&S believe this is the best way to “get customers out shopping, on to the high street and into our stores.”

And this comes in the context of consumers coming to expect brands to be digitally responsive.


6 in 10 people think it’s a bad customer experience if they don’t get a response from a brand on social media and 8 in 10 people expect a response within 24 hours.

M&S move away from TV and towards digital

M&S are taking advantage of data on consumer shopping behaviour to target customers in the run up to Christmas, something that TV isn’t able to deliver.

This is in the context of M&S moving a third of its business online and embracing “a modern digital mindset.”

And it’s not just M&S, brands like The Guardian, The FT, GSK, Clinique and Argos are all adopting a digital first approach.

This is part of a steady growth in digital spending in the UK and elsewhere.

Next go digital first

It’s one thing for brands to invest more money in digital, that of course makes sense and is a sign of the times. However, it’s quite another thing for big brands to actually cut spending on traditional media in favour of digital options. And that’s exactly what Next is doing, by slashing TV, print and direct mail by an incredible 50%.

Next believes this focus on digital could net them a whopping 75% rate of return! One digital campaign saw the retail brand spend £200,000 and get a sales boost of £335,000 over the next four seasons. This is big news for a brand that now sells 50% of its products online. Indeed, the potential gains for shifting to digital are so great that Next even admits they were 3 years too late to fully grasp the power of digital marketing.

How can small brands take advantage of digital marketing?

When it comes to smaller brands, many of you are in a much better position to take advantage of the pivot to digital marketing, because smaller ships have faster turning times! You’re in a position to tap into far bigger markets and reach more people more effectively than at any other point in recent years.

Get in touch to find out more about how I can help you make the most of advertising on Facebook.