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Brand Thinking Blog
Posted on February 7, 2008 at 4:31 pm
You will learn:
1. Why smart money is finding its way to online campaigns.
2. Where and how often executive-level targets go online.
3. Types of online ads–their strengths and weaknesses.
4. How to integrate online and offline efforts.
Recently we were on a call with two partners at a well-respected law firm about their media strategy. They’re commonly viewed as a high technology firm. We chatted about familiar media outlets, then we asked them to consider online advertising. Our lively exchange came to such an abrupt halt that we suspected the call had been dropped.
“Hello? Are you still there?” we asked.
When they confirmed that indeed they were still on the call, they somewhat sheepishly—and with full understanding of the irony—admitted they don’t yet understand the medium or believe online advertising will deliver.
Because of a classical “thinking error.” They don’t respond actively to online ads themselves, thus they believe others are not motivated to notice or click though online ads either. This is exactly how great opportunities are missed.
The four biggest advertising media channels—print, television, radio and outdoor—now compete with a ubiquitous and rapidly changing fifth, the digital channel, for your advertising dollar because your buyers and influencers are spending more and more time online. As a service marketer building brand, service offering or recruitment campaigns, you not only have to understand the digital channel, you need to learn how to use it well. This, as you’ll read below, is easier said than done.
This is the first of a three-part series where we will try to help you understand online advertising. Consider Part I: The Setup. In this article, you will learn:
- Why smart money is finding its way to online campaigns
- Where and how often executive-level targets go online
- The different types of online ads and their associated strengths and weaknesses
- Best practices, including the need to integrate online and offline efforts.
Why It’s Time to Pay Attention
Listen carefully to this news and study the chart below:
“Internet advertising revenues exceed $5.2 billion for the third quarter of 2007, representing another historic high for a quarter and a $1.1 billion increase, or 25.3% higher, than Q3 of 2006.”
—The Interactive Advertising Bureau and PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP
The investment quote above is matched by the rapid growth of online advertising, as seen in the chart below:
Projected market share 2006–2010
Source: “Global ad market to accelerate in 2008 despite credit scare.” ZenithOptimedia Group (12/3/07)
As this chart illustrates, smart advertisers are putting more dollars online because that medium delivers “viewers” with increasing levels of frequency, reach and measurable results—which is the point. The oft-quoted and acclaimed bank robber, Willy Sutton, said, when asked why he robbed banks, “Because that’s where the money is.” And so it goes with Internet advertising.
How your audience has moved.
Where your audience is today.
This shift in advertiser buying behavior is responding to a dramatic shift in buyer behavior—your own behavior—driven by technology shifts. Avenue A/Razorfish organizes these changes into these broad categories:
- “time shifting”: targets are consuming media via TiVo and DVR on their schedule, no longer subject to the vagaries of television or radio scheduling. Or, said another way, “time freedom.”
- “place shifting”: targets are no longer chained to their living room TV. Happiness is now a warm BlackBerry or iPod. “Place freedom.”
- “authority shifting”: consumers are participating with the brand, and brands are letting them by encouraging product or service reviews. In addition, the growth of citizen journalism via blogs and other online vehicles means more voices are joining business-to-business (as well as business-to-consumer) conversations. Authority goes democratic.
Speaking of numbers, we know from the conversation we reported at the top of this article and from conversations with many otherwise savvy marketers that advertisers still doubt that their C-level targets can be reached online. The evidence suggests otherwise:
The C-levels surf, too.
- Excluding email, senior executives spend about 6 hours per week online.
- 38% research business opportunities at least once a week.
- 14% read blogs.
- 21% watch TV/streaming video or download music online.
- 90% receive email newsletters or news alerts.
They congregate here…
- General business news sites – 53% daily/27% weekly
- Search engine/Portal sites – 56% daily/24% weekly
- Business/Industry news & info – 46% daily/34%weekly
- Sports news – 28% daily/28% weekly
- Financial sites – 26% daily/27% weekly
Use these portals…
- 86% use Google at least once a week.
- 41% use Yahoo at least once a week.
- 30% use MSN at least once a week.
And frequent these news sites one or more hours per week.
- CNN.com – 24%
- MSN.com – 19%
- WSJ.com – 16%
- Yahoo! Finance – 12%
Source: “US Executives on the Internet.�? Ipsos MORI (2007)
The Terrible Uncertainty of What To Do
“… it’s more accountable … the art of advertising is turning into the science of advertising. Agencies now need math guys.”
— The Washington Post
So. The good news is that online advertising can help you reach the people you want in a way that can be more directly measurable than traditional media. The other news is that navigating, choosing and bargaining within the wide world of online media is a process that can offer as much risk as reward. Why? The lack of standard:
- formats within and across channels
- pricing models, which are neither clear nor consistent
- methods of measuring performance
We are further hampered by:
- the bewildering array of digital “channels,” as well as
- fear and ignorance of technology, generally by marketing, media planning and creative teams; after all “geek” is just “greek” without the “r.”
Although online opportunities are legion, we can help by organizing all online spending into just a few buckets:
Source: ZenithOptimedia Group, December 2006, Via eMarketer Inc., New York; “2007 Marketing Fact Book”
How do I begin?
There’s simply too much to include here to get it all done at once. So, we’ll follow this introduction next month with the strengths, weaknesses, complexities and other need-to-know basics of:
1. Search (paid versus search engine optimization)
2. Display advertising
3. Mobile and email
We’re going to ignore classified advertising because we suspect that category is unrelated to your job title.
Meanwhile, if you are building a plan between now and then, please call (202) 420-7563 and Amy Beheler will put you in touch with the right individual to help with your online buying challenges.
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