Brand advertising budgets took a hit in 2008, with expenditures dropping 2.6 percent compared to 2007. While most media suffered, two bright spots were Hispanic cable TV, where ad spending grew 9.6 percent, and cable TV, where growth was 7.8 percent. But what has happened to online advertising?
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing advertisers and web sites is the plethora of sites competing for scarce advertising dollars with little to offer in the way of differentiation. Unfortunately, no single formula or strategy has emerged to guide advertisers looking to build brand loyalty, share of mind or unit sales when it comes to the online world.
Regardless, online media continues to have a tremendous amount of unrealized potential. Roughly 57 percent of Fortune 1,000 companies advertised online in at least half the quarters from the past three years. But the way they have been doing so points to a scatter-shot approach: 20 percent of Fortune 1,000 companies are distributing ad dollars across 32 or more web sites, while another 20 percent are hitting 8-31 outlets.
A number of companies are finding success: ConAgra, Exxon Mobil, Clorox, Cisco Systems, Foot Locker and Barnes & Noble each bought millions of online impressions in the fourth quarter of 2008, and got the most bang for their buck by concentrating more than 90 percent of their digital dollars on a single web site. On the web site front, ESPN.com recently overhauled their entire site, moving easy-to-use streaming video and advertising to the forefront. The results have been impressive: 45 seconds per page, an audience of 19.5 million visitors and 29 percent of advertising utilizing non-standard formats.
Learn how to deploy effective online advertising strategies, including Nielsen’s four-point plan, in the current issue of Consumer Insight.