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It's easy to see why search advertising is so popular online. Many brands focus on search because it has proven ROI — according to the IAB, 62% of all online revenue came from paid search in the first six months of this year. Meanwhile 8% of all internet users account for 85% of clicks on display advertising. Numbers like that often keep advertisers pouring money into search and holding onto dollars that might have gone toward brand advertising online.
But while search advertising may have the most proven business model in online advertising, businesses that ignore other areas and methods of increasing sales online do so at their own peril.
That was a recurring theme at Econsultancy's Masterclass in London yesterday, where Ian Dowds, vice president of Specific Media, put it like this:
"At the top of the funnel, there are a host of big brand advertisers standing like nervous tourists, dipping their toe in the online sea, debating the temperature and then turning and running away every time the water laps above their ankles."
The amount spent advertising online has finally exceeded that amount spent on TV promotions. So, if you're planning to dedicate more marketing money to the web platform, where should you spend that cash?
People are spending more online, both shoppers and advertisers. That means your customers are on the web but it also means your competitors have upped their game.
So you probably plan to increase the amount you spend, but where should you spend that cash? Should you boost your email marketing or ramp up your paid ads?
Information is power. This is particularly true online, where having information about your customers' preferences allows you to market to them far more successfully.
Sometimes, you will have to go to your consumers and actively request their help answering your questions, meaning you'll need to run a survey. Unfortunately, these can be a real turnoff for consumers.
As a web entrepreneur, I've had to put a great deal of thought into gleaning my customers' opinions. Here are a few hints and tips I have picked up. As always, I'll be delighted if you choose to add to the list through the comments section below.
For the second consecutive quarter, online ad spending has been in decline: 5% in Q3 of this year, according to IDC. The company forecast continaul shrinkage in spend for the rest of the calendar year, saying we may have to wait until mid-2010 for a meaningful recovery in online media buying in search, display, and classified advertising.
Global online spending shrunk this past quarter to $13.9 billion, versus $14.7 billion in the same year-ago period. Only the Asia/Pacific region and Japan saw slight spending gains.
An incident happened last week — I tweeted a caustic expletive directed at DoubleClick knowing that only my tribe would read the invective. What realization occurred that would have me throw political correctness out the window? It was the moment when I realized DoubleClick behaved as if their advertising was more important, perhaps more desirable, than the actual published content that I had clicked to experience. Or, maybe the ad platform/producer just isn’t aware of how their technology rubs up against other technologies...
Last week DoubleClick launched its 2008 Year in Review Benchmarks, an impressive piece of work looking at the performance of online advertising primarily in the US market.
The data was collected throughout 2008 and covers “hundreds of advertisers, thousands of campaigns, and tens of billions of ad impressions.”
However, it could have been so much more useful to the UK online advertising industry.
The IAB presented its statistical and philosophical take on 2008 today, and while it tracked some surprising growth numbers it left more than a few questions unanswered for the balance of 2009.
The important numbers: total US internet advertising growth topped 10.6 percent in 2009 when offline media dropped 2.4 percent. The industry crossed the $6 billion plateau for the first time during the fourth quarter of last year, but it came on the heels of the lowest sequential quarter-to-quarter growth rate since 2002. Search was up 10.5 percent over 2007 and the much-maligned category of display ads bounced 8 percent. However, display ads contracted 4 percent in the fourth quarter.
Customer engagement has been re-introduced into the internet marketing discussion, this time via an excellent report from Forrester Research.
Exactly what "engagement" means has been a murky proposition since it was introduced into the internet marketing lexicon in 2005. But Forrester has put forth a clear and concise take on it. It says: "customer engagement is the level of involvement, interaction, intimacy, and influence that an individual has with a brand over time."
Reading the blogosphere today it would be reasonable to think that Barack Obama has nominated Satan to lead the Federal Trade Commission. His name is actually Jon Leibowitz and all the talk about a "day of reckoning" for the online ad business will not be at the top of his agenda.
Leibowitz is a known anti-piracy advocate (good) and an aggressive proponent of regulating online advertising (maybe not so good). He made a speech on Feb. 12 while he was deeply into his job as one of the FTC commissioners and investigating behavioral targeting. In that speech he used the phrase "day of reckoning" about online ad regulation and although it certainly has a promise of biblical wrath, he will not smite this business.