Why spend in direct mail is irrelevant

UK ad spend is forecast to slow across 2019 to 4.6 per cent. It’s doom and gloom across the industry – even for digital, which for the first time in ten years, drops to single digit growth; according to the latest figures from WARC and the Advertising Association.

The figures show that direct mail will come off worse – forecast to decline by eight per cent. However, this figure should not come as a surprise, and if anything should be taken positively by the industry.

We are still less than a year into GDPR and by the nature of the regulation direct mail had to go into decline. Given the opt-in clause, down is the only direction spend could have gone and the industry knew and planned for this. Many predicted a double digit decline.

However, the benefits must be considered. Yes spend has decreased, but direct mail has seen much worse. The fact is that the channel is gaining in popularity. Perception amongst consumers is on the rise. The reason? Because GDPR has protected them against letterbox bombardment. Now only people that are truly interested in something will receive information through the post. This increases the equity of the mail box and as a result we are seeing significantly improved ROI.

Spend should never be an indicator of channel health. ROI should and we are excited by the possibilities the channel affords in this post-GDPR landscape. Spend may fall again next year, but the one thing that won’t is consumer engagement – and that should be the whole battle.