Slump Prompts Focus On Targeted, Accountable Ads

10 Nov Slump Prompts Focus On Targeted, Accountable Ads

With ad budgets coming under growing pressure from a contracting economy, we asked Christopher Vollmer, who leads Booz & Company’s North American media and entertainment practice, for his views on how the downturn will impact the digital media landscape. Vollmer is the author of “Always On: Advertising, Marketing, and Media in an Era of Consumer Control,” released earlier this year. Online Media Daily: Given current economic conditions, how do you see online advertising shaping up next year? Vollmer: For marketers, the focus for the fourth quarter and 2009 will be on advertising that works. Marketers are looking for advertising environments that are targeted, accountable and interactive–all of those dimensions continue to benefit online. Furthermore, most major marketers are still ramping up their online efforts and online still represents a comparatively small percentage of their overall media mix. Sectoral challenges in big spending categories such as auto, financial services and retail may result in slower growth in overall online spending, but online’s share of total ad spend should still increase in 2009. Highly measurable online advertising that is tied directly to l ead generation and/or sales, such as search ads, in particular should experience continued growth. Online Media Daily: Will emerging media categories such as social media and mobile be hard-hit with reduced spending? Vollmer: Any medium that is relatively “new” to a marketer’s budget will have to fight harder for an ongoing place in today’s media mix. In tough economic times, marketers want to have both real measurement and greater certainty over the ad dollars they are spending. This reality puts more pressure on the more experimental efforts in areas such as social networks, mobile and video games. Those marketers that are focused on the youth demographic are perhaps a notable and important exception. Some reports suggest Generation Y is spending 30 percent more time on the Internet than they are on TV. It is therefore highly doubtful that innovative advertisers such as Unilever and Nike will reduce their spending on these elements at all–in fact, they may even increase their spending as they build confidence and see more results. Finally, there is a lot of interest from marketers in how to use media to influence decisions close to the point of sale. This should benefit both in-store and place-based media owners as marketers use more of these media to influence and connect with consumers as part of their expanding shopper marketing programs.

Online Media Daily, By Mark Walsh, November 10, 2008