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Advertising Flight to Accountability

by Bob Maxwell on 9 Nov 2008
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Knowing the names of consumers who are interested in specific products in a company’s range provides a major competitive advantage in a tough market place.

Ed Smith, the chief commercial officer of News Digital Media, a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited, said in The Australian this week ‘the (online) advertising audience is broadening. 'I think in this market there is a flight to accountability.'



Advertisers had had no choice but to follow consumers as they move online in large numbers, but in doing so advertisers have discovered a new world of accountabliltiy that means their money is much better spent and this is accelerating the shift from print to online media.

While magazine advertising continues to slide, the online ad industry has defied the economic slowdown to report year-on-year growth of almost 30 per cent for the third quarter. Online advertising figures released by Australia’s Internet Advertising Bureau yesterday revealed spending had jumped 29.8 percent, $103.5 million to a third-quarter total of $451.25 million.

Across the broad spread of US magazines, advertising pages have fallen an average of 12.9% across the same period states an article in the New York Times, with some consumer publications in the auto and marine area seeing 40% declines according to a quarterly advertising industry report.

The rapid growth in online advertising in the face of tough market conditions indicate that former magazine advertisers are recognising that interactive (online) media provides feedback and accountability that print media cannot even dream about.

Geo-location and web user tracking are two key elements of the online marketing mix. With geo-location, as a reader clicks onto a modern news site, their geographic location is read and the advertising they see will match with at location. This has now opened up the ability for readers in a specific city to see localised ads. This is perfect for regional service companies, like Pizza stores or Ships Chandleries whose trade is geographical.

However the most marked shift has been for advertisers to reach a wider audience with high traffic sites, through competitions, screensavers and brochure downloads which provide contact details on consumers interested in the advertiser’s market category.

Then direct contact can be made by company e-newsletter and when the potential consumers open a particular story on that newsletter, and then the company knows that consumer is interested in product C rather than product A or B. Armed with that knowledge more targeted contact follows.

Print publications have no ability to deliver this kind of response and advertisers are deserting them. Loss of advertising income for Old Media means a loss of journalists as lay-offs and closure continue to rack print media worldwide.

Mourning Old Media’s decline, New York Times columnist David Carr said last week 'the sky is falling in for Old Media; the question is who will be left to report it?'

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