Is it possible to write an entire 'opinion' piece on the subject of
online advertising and base it only on facts? Would I be right in
thinking that you as the reader may have had a skinful of industry
commentators and practitioners spending most of their time posturing and
thus causing greater confusion at a time when advertisers want clarity
For it is these two factors that are largely to blame for the reticence
of many would-be advertisers to commit budgets to online.
The problem, it turns out, is not auditing of user figures nor 'poor'
click-through results. The conclusion of a recent report by Forrester
Research was that 'marketers are frustrated by the current lack of
knowledge and poor metrics and blame their suppliers'.
Real advertisers' real views, not my opinion. This is perfectly
illustrated by one comment as follows: 'We did a small online campaign.
We did not feel in control, but neither did our agency.'
There's a double irony here. Firstly, it turns out that it is the
agencies themselves that are the bottleneck for many clients - not just
the traditional ad agencies, but also the web design agencies who dabble
and direct marketing agencies who want part of the action.
The second is that despite this barrier, online advertising continued to
grow at 202 per cent year on year in 2000, even allowing for a slowing
down in the fourth quarter to 'only' 135 per cent growth (source:
PricewaterhouseCoopers, not opinion), and this despite the dotcom
crash.The fall of dotcoms had such a minor effect on online advertising
because most of their budgets actually went on TV and posters. The
recent slowing of growth has in fact been caused by the 'knowledge
The knowledge that potential advertisers are not exposed to about online
advertising includes the following: it can often be the most
cost-effective of all media for customer acquisition - I have the
statistical evidence to prove this, but I'll spare you it here. It can
single-handedly increase prompted-awareness scores by one third or more
in a single campaign - once again, the evidence is available. And basic
cost-per-thousand rates now compare very favourably to posters and
press, but with the added benefit of buying controlled segments of
If I were an advertiser in the current environment of economic
uncertainty and wanted to use my budget in the most accountable and
trackable way possible, I know what medium I'd be turning to. But that's
just my opinion.