Martin Puris was recently quoted as saying "The real Internet hasn't even begun yet." Which is an interesting place from which to look at the Internet today, and what it may look like tomorrow:
Today: Over 6,000 Web sites whose business models call for some part of their revenue to come from advertising. Many of these sites maintain their own independent sales forces, while others depend on revenues generated by multi-office rep firms.
Tomorrow: After the current shakeout is over, the Web will experience a segregation of sites into a very few (3-4) general-interest portals and a much larger number (2,000-3,000) of special-interest vertical sites. The portals will be able to maintain their own sales forces while virtually all the smaller sites will have their inventory sold by rep firms.
Today: 90% of Web advertising dollars are spent by way of CPM-based buys, with the remainder spent through response-based deals.
Tomorrow: Marketers will realize the Web is best used as a direct-response medium, and will allocate the majority (~60%) of their dollars via this relatively risk-free tactic.
Today: Over half of Web advertising dollars are spent on relatively static banners and other clickable images.
Tomorrow: Web advertisers and their agencies will use more lively and animated rich media to attract consumers' attention. The trick will be to develop creative approaches that won't be immediately bypassed by the consumer.
Today: Marketers generally have separate budgets-and agencies-for their online and offline campaigns.
Tomorrow: The Web works best as a medium that is integrated into other marketing efforts such as offline media and promotions. Marketers will learn that keeping their various agencies separate isn't nearly as effective as having the Web be one among several arrows in the marketer's quiver. The trick will be to develop one overall strategy that is integrated over all media.
Today: Relatively small audience panels are being used to report on viewership of thousands of Web sites.
Tomorrow: The Web reaches such a large audience (currently over half of U.S. households) who have such a huge range of choices that only mega-panels of millions of consumers will prove statistically valid and projectable.
Today: Hardly any packaged goods marketers are using the Web as a medium.
Tomorrow: Packaged goods will represent a significant share of online spending as marketers learn how to use promotions, couponing, and Web-related offers to sell their products.
Today: The Web is mostly accessed through PCs located either in the home or the workplace.
Tomorrow: New devices will allow consumers to access the Web easily virtually anywhere. This won't just be wireless technology, it's literally the full Web accessible in any location.
- Michael Kubin is co-CEO of New York-based Leading Web Advertisers (LWA) - http://www.web-advertisers.com - a comprehensive Web advertisement monito