Display advertising still battling


manyadnetworks_small.jpgADOTAS — Total measured advertising expenditures in the opening quarter of 2009 plunged 14.2 percent versus a year ago, to $30.18 billion, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

This follows a 9.2 percent decline in Q4 2008 as the advertising recession accelerated in the new year. But, according to TNS, Internet display expenditures grew 8.2 percent as telecom, travel and local retail advertisers expanded their online marketing programs.

“The ad market declined significantly in the first quarter, overtaken by a collapsing economy which prompted consumers and marketers alike to shut their wallets and conserve,” Jon Swallen, SVP Research at TNS Media Intelligence, said in a statement. “While there are hopeful signs of general economic indicators bottoming out, the advertising sector still appears to be lagging behind. Available data from second quarter shows ad expenditures tracking on a comparable plane to recent months.”

Local media suffered most with aggregate expenditures sinking 25.4 percent in the first quarter of 2009. The rate of decline was similar across Spot TV (-27.5 percent), Local Newspapers (-25.1 percent) and Local Radio (-26.8 percent). Each of these segments was ravaged by deep spending cutbacks in core categories such as automotive, retail and local services.
For national media, combined ad spending fell 8.5 percent versus a year ago. Within this segment, performance was sharply defined along the lines of print versus television versus online.


  1. Certain areas of online advertising are still seeing growth. For example, CPA is growing as advertisers are looking for ways to ensure ROI. Since with CPA you only pay for the ads that achieve a specific action, you are truly getting what you paid for. If you can show ROI, advertisers will come.

  2. They say display advertising is a bad investment. But, not so fast, theysayers. First, we know that Web sites proliferate and continue to create new content and extra pages. And the supply of display ads has become nearly limitless. Which means it could be the perfect time to rethink and re-invest in the under-valued Display Ad — IF:

    1. You buck the trend and get your Display’s creative mojo back (which I believe you bucking can).

    2. You rethink your creative, tech, and production options BEFORE you spend a media nickel.

    You re-read Emily Steel’s around-the-corner WSJ piece (5.6.09, Marketplace) on display advertising about to have their bandages unwrapped for their extreme makeover.

    “Some Web Companies are trying to breathe new life into the format,” Steel writes, “Businesses from ad-technology start-ups to Web publishers are increasing the size and beefing up the quality of display ads, which border Web pages and can include pictures or video.”

    Steel goes on to report, “They are also changing payment models and measurement systems…and commissioning research…to document their impact.” Eyeblaster, for one, will allow advertisers to track how their display ads perform in comparison with TV. PointRoll, another one with six-pack tech abs, will allow advertisers to change featured products based on what they have in stock.

    Her article shows how this is working for New Balance ZIP athletic shoes. VideoEgg’s “engagement” ad replaces the usual slot for the display ad at a “cost per engagement” pricing model, in which marketers pay for an ad only when a consumer reacts to it (expands across the page) vs. the typical model of payment based on “ad impressions” delivered – or the times an ad is shown on a Web page.

    Naturally, in a recession, marketing execs are seeking such innovative models. But, as you would guess, there are those marketers who are quick to offer reasons why They Think this may not work. So, naturally, it’s your job to rethink each one:

    #1: It’s hard to fit the new pricing models into existing budgets.

    ReThink: So, it’s hard! That’s a reason for not making it work? Last I checked, things that came a little hard paid off.

    #2: Major Web publishers have yet to adopt the new model, so it’s limited to a network of sites on which VideoEgg sells ads unless and until marketers create new ads to run on other sites.

    ReThink: So, we get it: another hard one — “create” something new again. Think we can handle that? I rethink so.

    “The onus is on the creative to be interesting, engaging. If your creative isn’t good, then you aren’t going to create engagement,” says Jeff Marshall, the managing director at Pixel, a digital creative agency owned by Publicis Groupe.

    Jeff is absolutely right of course, but, excuuuuse me, did he say, “if your creative isn’t good”?!! Hell, while we’re at it, just because we’re talking real money here, let’s go crazy and go for flat out Remarkable, Freaking Fantastically Great. Of course, that may be a hard one, too.

    But that’s why we all have cell phones. To call someone who’s up to it. At a great price, to boot.

  3. I’d recommend Yahoo’s Search Marketing Full Analytics product. It allows you to track all of you online campaigns under one roof. But even better, it provides the ‘Assist’ metric which shows how one ad cotributed to the conversion of another ad. For example, it will show you the total number of times that your display ads assisted in driving conversions for your other ads (such as search).

    This is great data if you’re a display advertiser trying to understand the full value of your display ads to help guide your ad budget.


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