Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Online Advertising: Moving Forward or Coming Full Circle

What does the future hold for marketers? As technology forces the hand of marketers to adapt to an ever-changing climate, there are many ways that IMC professionals and advertisers approach the task at hand from innovating to repeating history.

After the bust up of 2000, internet ad revenue did a nose-dive as we are all aware. Marketers began to write-off the medium; but, is it really so different from "old" media? Advertisers are beginning to look at internet advertising much the same way as traditional advertising – just because users don't click on an ad does not mean there was no communication. Consumers can't click on a television spot or a print ad either. For a marketer, "using the word 'hits' . . . puts a scarlet letter on your head that you don't know what you're doing," (Taylor, para. 5). An Internet ad that isn't clicked-through still can bring about the same benefits as a print ad – brand awareness and message communication – even when the user does not visit the connecting Web Site.

One example of this 'old' train of thought comes from none other than Lord Saatchi himself. Lord Maurice Saatchi has received criticism for an op-Ed piece he wrote for the Financial Times stating that, "Human nature is not amenable to prediction based on the trends or tendencies prevailing at the time. It is amenable to startling creativity of the kind practiced by great artists, directors, writers, musicians, actors, who know how to touch a chord in humans everywhere," (para. 13). His basic premise is that Google provides little in the way to assist advertisers. Further, he supports his conclusion with the late Viscount Rothmere's assertion that research on consumers is unhelpful: "Getting someone else's newspaper is like getting into someone else's bath after they've just left it," (para. 9). Gross. This OpEd piece underscores the differences between the old train of thought and new ideas in marketing.

Bloggers are quick to point out the ridiculousness of this article. Of course Google's AdSense is a marketer's dream: targeting users, reducing waste, increasing efficacy and ROI. Google has more information on individual consumers than the IRS. So is it "out with the old" and in with the Google? Not so fast.

According to a piece in the New York Times, Google is turning to agencies for help in getting advertisers to use more extensive Google products such as click-to-play video, Google Earth mapping, and geographic finding of users. "We've been out there meeting with a lot of agencies and clients so they understand at a brand level, at a creative level, at a media-planning level, how they can use the palette we have," said Tim Armstrong, vice president for advertising sales at Google. Looks like Madison Ave. can take a deep breath.

(Taylor, Catherine P. "New Media as Old Media." Brandweek. 6/30/2003)

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