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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.
No secret that performance-based advertising is dominating internet marketing. But brands are still trying to find the right mix for all those performance options, email, and a rapidly declining display market.
According to IDC research analyst Caroline Dangson, the display market contracted by 7 percent in Q4 of 2008, and will continue to see decreased spending until the end of this year. With this in mind, several brands are trying to find some balance for all the advertising options available.
Internet marketing analysts are finding more reasons to be cheerful. Presentations at yesterday's CPL Summit in New York supported the recent theme that conditions for a second half surge are starting to take shape.
The summit, sponsored by Pontiflex, focused on differing approaches to pay-for-performance advertising. Growth in PPC, search, and pay-per-lead are part of the reasons the second half of 2009 could be brighter than many projections that were revised downward over the past few weeks. Imran Khan, Managing Director, J.P. Morgan, singled out three more reasons for cautious optimism:
Research firm comScore released some stats on iPhone usage in the UK this week, finding that 93% of iPhone owners accessed mobile media in January, much higher than the average for smartphones.
I've come across a few other stats on mobile internet usage and mobile commerce recently, so I've rounded some of them up to coincide with the release of the latest version of our Internet Statistics Compendium.
If you're looking for some good news beyond social media, check out ecommerce. Internet Retailer’s forthcoming 2009 Top 500 Guide reports that sales for the 245 retailers reporting actual 2008 numbers have grown by 15 percent to $55.6 billion from $48.3 billion in 2007.
Before getting too excited, understand that Amazon's $19 billion in 2008 sales wrecks the curve a little bit. Without Amazon online sales, the remaining retailers increased by 8.82 percent to $36.47 billion last year from $33.52 billion in the prior year. During a year when overall retail sales are expected to decline substantially when the numbers are all in, even an 8 percent increase shows that consumers will spend money online.
Though it might seem like everyone in the world is attached to the mobile phone, a new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds that six in ten people could leave home without it.
But the 39 percent who are "motivated by mobility," as the report states, break down into very different usage patterns. As marketers find their way in mobile apps and display ads, its worth noting these segments.
Media and entertainment companies aren't moving fast enough to embrace new business models and the ever-changing needs of digital customers. That's the warning shot fired by IBM Global Business Services in its annual survey of the digital marketing landscape.
"Media and entertainment (M&E) companies need to move beyond traditional advertising: the scenario of the future is consumer centricity," the report states. "Yet content owners, media distributors and agencies have not sufficiently responded to these changes, partly due to significant hurdles. Investment decisions are being hindered by new format uncertainty; the lack of cross-industry standards across formats, processes and especially metrics; and significant internal challenges."
Last week, research showed that SME’s were quickly taking up Twitter and adapting its many uses to suit their businesses. However, worrying research from ntl:Telewest Business has been released today that reveals more than 80% of the UK’s top 100 tech companies don’t appear to be using it for business communication purposes.
The research report comes from a study of the FTSE techMARK 100 and found that workers from eight of the top ten companies are not embracing Twitter, despite the recent surge in interest across the media, commercial organisations and the general public.
There's a nasty little blog debate in progress today between Wharton School of Business professor Eric Clemons and some industry analysts about whether internet advertising actually works. Before you draw a big breath, knit your brow and get ready to enter the debate, relax a bit. Of course it works. Clemons' missive provides an opportunity to restate the case for internet marketing.
Clemons, professor of operations and information management at The Wharton School ranted on TechCrunch today that the "internet is not replacing advertising but shattering it, and all the king’s horses, all the king’s men, and all the creative talent of Madison Avenue cannot put it together again."
It may be antithetical or even sacrilegious to say so, but companies may have too much customer data for their own good. With internet marketing focused on generating even more of that data through behavioral targeting and social media, it may be time to consider a new theory out of Penn's Wharton School of Business. It's called "data minimization."
According to Wharton marketing professors Eric Bradlow and Peter Fader "data minimization" is a simple but radical concept: keep the customer data a company needs for competitive advantage, and purge the rest. "I think there is a fear and paranoia among companies that ... if they don't keep every little piece of information on a customer, they [can't function]," Bradlow told the Marketing @ Wharton newsletter. "Companies continue to squirrel away data for a rainy day. We're not saying throw data away meaninglessly, but use what you need for forecasting and get rid of the rest."
Online retailers are getting lazy, irresponsible, and are disregarding best practices when it comes to responsible email marketing, according to a new study from Return Path.
These dire findings were based on buying items from 45 online retailers, then monitoring their transactional and promotional message streams. These emails messages were then compared with messages received by registering for the same retailers' email programs without making a purchase.
A lack of measurement is still an issue for many email marketing campaigns, with almost half of companies failing to track their ROI from email.
Econsultancy's third annual Email Marketing Industry Census, sponsored by Adestra, found that 42% of organisations did not know what their ROI was from their email efforts, despite its proven effectiveness.