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A Case for Optimism for Online Advertising

  • Adweek, Tuesday, May 5, 2009 11:45 AM
There seems to be nothing but bad news these days for those in the online advertising industry. Display advertising's share of total online spending has plateaued at around 20%; video and social media, which are supposed to be the hot new platforms, have failed to find a tried and true monetization formula; and financial services, retail and auto advertisers continue to reign in spending across all media.

Yet, despite the doom and gloom, Nielson Online's Charlie Buckwalter notes there are some positive developments, particularly around the globe. For starters, "the online population is looking more and more like the overall population -- meaning that in a few short years, online access has moved from being a luxury or something cool to an essential, basic requirement." Also, despite the retrenchment of financial services, retail and automotive advertisers, CPGs, pharmaceutical and telecommunications advertisers are moving their spending online "at a pace not seen before."

Social media, despite the fact that there is no real business model yet, "is the single most significant story in the online media space today," Buckwalter says, noting that social networking sites eclipsed email in global reach this year (68.4% versus 64.8%). Meanwhile, mobile Internet use is exploding, too: in the U.S., the mobile Internet audience grew 74 percent between February 2007 and February 2009. Global recession notwithstanding, Buckwalter says there is still plenty of opportunity in online advertisin

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