Is the Internet shattering advertising?

Jeff Mesnik How To

I enjoy listening to the predictors of doom and destruction as in this interview with Eric Clemons from The Wharton School who proclaims the demise of advertising as we know it.—itunes-2.html

There is a long tradition of people who have predicted the death of an industry, in hopes to one day say…”SEE I TOLD YOU SO”

The reality is the world is in flux, new communications mediums and channels are developing and sometimes traditional advertisers can be slow to adjust causing significant reductions in their ROI calculations. 

Searching for the Answer

Has spending of ad dollars truly decreased, or has only traditional ad dollar spending decreased?  The IAB reports that online ad spending in 2008 increased by 10.6% to $23.4 billion and the IAB also predicted that 2009 would see a much lower increase, but still an increase.

It is important to mention that the 2008 increase happened in a slow, but somewhat normal economic climate (well, up to September, but all ad dollars were already committed by then).

Full Disclosure: According to a report in Business week there actually has been a decrease in spending on search ads this year, but the article attributes that to the general slowness of the economy, and should not be related to the end of advertising.

So lets get back to the idea that the internet has shattered advertising, and the answer is no, it is changing it. Content is still valued, few people can truly write, and I would argue that writers are still a valuable asset, and they need to be supported. Even though there may be more content available,  and some of it may be good, people will pay for valued insights directly or indirectly.

A great example of how advertising has adjusted to change, is how television has started to adapt to the change in behavior brought on by the DVR.  The best example of change is 24.  They have product placement down to an art “Quick Mrs President, to the Cisco telepresence suite”  What happened to the bat cave?   Product placement has been taken to a whole new level, where it is actually integrated into the content. Cisco, Ford and Sprint are among the leaders that have figured out that ads in line with the content often have a better results than stand alone ads.

The ever shifting paradigm of what viewers will read/watch and where they will read it and watch it means that we have to start thinking about our promotional content in multiple dimensions.  Promotional content has to be better integrated with the content it is sponsoring, the type of audience you are targeting, and the online or offline location that audience is viewing it.   

Here are some potentially interesting tactical thoughts on expanding advertising reach:

TweetAds –  For example, embedding timely and potentially relevant offers, within a well followed tweet. (Here comes Google buying Twitter? Maybe?)

The Content type: Short quick promotion.

Facebookevents – Facebookers tend to live off of the next big survey or cool video or cause. So one potential idea could be a promotion sponsoring a cause, where passing the promotion has some connection to dollars donated. The content: a downloadable application? a video? an online invitation to visit the content? Placement of invitations should be from one FB’er to another, within Yahoo, Twitterads, Google, and search.

The above are just two examples of how to potentially start thinking about advertising and the new mediums to promote it.