Here's one unequivocal prediction I can make for the coming year: Vonage will not lead the list of top Internet display advertisers at the end of 2007. (I know. I know. That's really cheating because the troubled Internet telephony provider has already announced a $110 million slash in marketing expenditures.)
What's fun about the Web's Biggest Spenders, as compiled by TNS Media Intelligence based on Internet display advertising, is that you know the list will change next year. I predict the next Top 50 list will introduce more of the big brand marketers who dominate traditional media's spending tables year-in and year-out.
Just ask the agencies who are watching clients of incredibly long tenure go looking for new partners. Nike and Wieden + Kennedy are the most prominent recent example.
Microsoft will surely gain position. Remember the proclamation made by Mich Mathews at the AAAAs Media Conference that nearly all Microsoft spending will migrate online by the year 2010?
Look for newcomers. ConAgra Foods, which resurrected the digital Orville Redenbacher, plans to increase its online budget by 400 percent. Johnson & Johnson and General Motors all have increased online plans.
Then there's the Google factor. The company's announcement that it will buy DoubleClick, the leading online advertising network, for $3.1 billion, has big implications for brand marketers. If they can get it right (the deal closes at the end of the year, barring any antitrust hurdles), Google is promising to create a single dashboard for advertisers and their agencies to buy search and online advertising and to easily measure its effectiveness.
That's when real dollars will start pouring in.
What do you think? Let me know.
Laurie Peterson, Executive Editor