While most of the U.S. and worldwide economy was taking a nose dive at the end of 2008, one industry in particular saw an increase . . . online advertising.  This is particularly significant as typically advertising expenditures decrease when the economy contracts.

The Internet Advertising Bureau released their Internet Advertising Report for 2008 in March.   Online advertising was up 10.6 percent in 2008 with $23.4 billion in revenue over $21.2 billion in 2007.  While many industries were paralyzed in the last quarter of 2008, online advertising increased 4.5% with total revenues of $6.1 billion, a 2.6% increase over 2007 fourth quarter revenues of $5.9 billion and a 4.5% increase over the third quarter of 2008 revenues of $5.8 billion.

“We are seeing an ongoing secular shift from traditional to online media as marketers recognize that ad
dollars invested in interactive media are effective at influencing consumers and delivering measurable
results. In this uncertain economy, where marketers know they need to do more with less, interactive
advertising provides the tools for them to build deep, engaging relationships with consumers—the
experience marketers gain from this will deliver dividends especially after the economy turns around.”
—Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB

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Search advertising garnered the majority of the advertising revenue at 48 percent, followed by display advertising with 21 percent.  Fifty-seven percent of ad revenues were paid on a performance basis (pay per click, pay per action, etc.), 39 percent were purchased on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) basis.

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Marketing

One thing that I’ve noticed in my business recently is that many of my clients may be currently experiencing a slump in business, but they are taking advantage of the lull in activity to refocus and fine tune their marketing efforts.   Over the past few months, I’ve completed web site redesigns, cleaned up and optimized web sites, created complete direct mail campaigns for 2009 and designed digital presentations and media kits.  Rather than allowing their business to spiral downward, business owners and managers are being coming more creative and aggressive about how they go after business.

This mindset is reflected in the year end online advertising revenue numbers for 2008.  While print and traditional media advertising revenue may be down, businesses are increasingly turning to online advertising for several key reasons:

  1. Ease of Use: While sophisticated advertising models are available, even the smallest business can set up a Google Adwords account and start advertising online in five minutes.
  2. Highly Targeted: Rather than paying for exposure you don’t need, online advertising allows you to specifically target your desired audience and reduce wasted ad expenditures.
  3. Measurable Results:More than any other medium, advertising online allows you to track response to a campaign and measure results.

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Before You Advertise Online!

While there are wonderful marketing opportunities online, before you launch your first campaign make sure that your web site is up to speed.

If a potential customer responds to an online ad, they are going to be looking for more information about your products or services on your web site.  I have seen a surprising number of businesses advertising online who either 1) don’t have a web site at all, or 2) have a site that is so bad that it will hurt their chances of winning the business rather than closing it.

A few things to consider when analyzing your web site are:

  1. Is your contact information readily accessible?
  2. Is it clear what your company does?
  3. Does your business web site projects accurately represent the image you would like to project for your business?

Need help bringing your web site up to speed or planning an online campaign?  Contact us!

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