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Television has been called many things, and in the past several years, one of those things is ‘dead‘. But when it comes to advertising, television is still alive and kicking, and according to a new survey from media management software vendor STRATA, it’s television advertising, not digital advertising, that will benefit most from economic recovery.

Of the major advertising firms polled as part of STRATA’s 4th Quarter Agency Survey, the greatest percentage (44%) said that their clients were focused most on television, a 24% rise over the previous quarter. Digital trailed significantly, with 21.1% reporting the internet to be their clients’ medium of choice.

According to STRATA CEO John Shelton, major advertisers are feeling comfortable enough to boost their television advertising spend despite the high costs because “agencies view TV as having the greatest impact.” That might be surprising to some in the digital arena, but according to STRATA’s survey, ad firms face numerous challenges with digital.

The largest: “the lack of channel effectiveness.” Ironically, a lot of that may have something to do with the digital channels advertisers are most attracted to. According to STRATA, social media is one of the most popular channels, and within it, a whopping 79% of the agencies surveyed indicate that they’ll focus their social media investment on Facebook.

Another popular social hub, Twitter, is the second investment of choice for agencies this year. But despite the popularity of and potential offered by Facebook and Twitter, it’s questionable whether advertisers looking to drive ROI should be so focused on two platforms that haven’t exactly proven they’re capable of consistently delivering it, at least easily.

From this perspective, it seems that STRATA’s 4th Quarter Agency Survey confirms what we already know: that agencies are creatures of comfort. When the economy isn’t on life support, television advertising is as comfortable a medium as they come.

Buying television ads is a familiar process and it’s easy to justify. After all, who has ever been fired for buying a television ad? Digital, on the other hand, has grown rapidly, but it’s not nearly as comfortable. New channels and platforms are emerging all the time, picking the ones can be difficult, and cross-channel measurement still seems more like art that science in many cases. So it’s not surprising that a rising economic tide is lifting most the yacht that is television advertising.

But savvy advertisers and agencies will recognize that it’s not a zero-sum game. If the economy is truly on the mend, those who capitalize the most will be the ones who put all mediums, including television and digital, together and create integrated campaigns that perform better than the sum of their parts.

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