Advertising Darling

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internet_tv_small.jpgADOTAS — Happy holidays online marketers! Sure, the economy is in the tank and layoffs are on the rise. Your 401K is probably a shell of what it used to be. But things could be much worse! We could be in the outdoor or traditional display advertising space…eek!

Everyone I talk to outside of online marketing assumes we should be hurting right now. They assume that since business in general is hurting, that must mean we are. But we’re not. When it comes down to it, our clients are diverting budgets to online marketing. As an agency, we continue to hit record months for our clients in both spend levels and the return they are getting from that spend.

It is becoming all too common for a client to approach us to say they want to take their catalog or print budget and divert most, if not all, of it to online when 2009 arrives. So what is it about online marketing that is driving this trend? They’re steering away from ad models that have them paying for eyeballs and towards models that provide direct response and ROI.

To end the year and ring in the new, I thought I would pay homage to online marketing and some of the top reasons I believe it will continue to thrive in 2009 and beyond!

It’s Trackable

Unlike offline advertising, all the actions produced as a result of online marketing can be watched, scrutinized, digested, and tested against. Whether you buy search media on a CPC basis, pay an affiliate a flat fee per sale, cultivate demand through a contextual or behavioral campaign, or watch leads roll in from an organic SEO campaign, you can track exactly what results from your investment.

It’s Measurable

Equipped with all of the data gathered above, you can slice and dice that data to determine what is working and what is not. Forget about general ROI. You can measure how a single keyword performs by time of day, day of week, and specific venue. You can see which ad you tested produced the most clicks, which landing page converted the most visitors, and what the average order value was of newly generated sales. This can then all be tied back to what was invested to measure the outcomes and determine what made sense and what didn’t.

It’s Accountable

When setup properly, an online marketing campaign becomes a very large compilation of mini-media buys. Every variable along the way can be held accountable to producing ROI. So if keyword A in your Google campaign falls below ROI targets on Tuesdays, turn it off. If one of your affiliates is playing an arbitrage game and causing you to pay too much for your own conversions, exclude them. And, if one specific placement in your content network campaign does not meet CPA goals, remove it.

It’s Empowering

Equipped with granular tracking data, solid ROI measurements and reports showing you what works and what doesn’t, you can pick your battles and mold your strategy. The days when marketing investments could only be measured in esoteric terms are over. Marketers are now empowered to target their investment to meet specific goals and objectives.

In these times of economic uncertainty, when every investment dollar is scrutinized, you can be sure it is this level of accountability and empowerment that will continue to make online marketing the darling of the advertising world.

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