As the economy slows, more businesses are attracted to Internet advertising. Not only is it often less expensive, but it’s also easier to measure than tv and print ads. Every prediction I’ve seen shows growth in this space outpacing growth in traditional advertising methods. Merrill Lynch predicts ad spending in the U.S. will grow 2.3% this year and that businesses will move more budgets online – increasing the portion spent online to 18%. Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia says it spending online should exceed that spent on radio as soon as this year. The Internet should outspend magazine advertising by 2010.
Clients are asking ad agencies to be more online savvy and rely less on how things have been done. They want the execs who create ads for TV and newspapers to widen their vision and include more web advertising and coordinate on and offline advertising. In general, marketers want to use whatever medium best fits the campaign, not whatever medium execs are used to.
A trend that changes the dynamics of advertising are that TV ads aren’t just in homes, they are showing up all over. That means more chances to advertise. Screens are in grocery stores, elevators, and at the gas pump. Gas Station TV, has about 5,000 such screens in 300 cities. Advertisers like General Motors’ Chevrolet, and Sony. Next up – ads in doctor’s office waiting rooms. Google is giving driving directions and business listings at the pump, which will probably turn into another chance to advertise.
Another trend that I find disturbing is how ad agencies are moving from asking consumers questions to learn their preferences, they are actually following them. J.C. Penney hired Saatchi & Saatchi who sent staffers to spend several days with 50 women. They helped them with work around the house and observed their behavior. They created an ad campaign based on what they learned and the commercials were a hit.
Tim Hanlon, senior vice president of Denuo Group, thinks people will tire of social networking sites. He doesn’t see them as an ideal place to advertise, but as a place to conduct research about your target market.