AFTER several years of less-than-impressive growth, online advertising looks ready to make a comeback, with revitalised interest in the medium leading to multi-million dollar jumps in expenditure in the past year.
This is good news for Western Australian companies such as Clickstream and ineedhits.com, which are reaping the benefits of renewed business confidence in the Internet as an effective publicity medium.
It also represents a growing acceptance among those locally based firms embracing the Internet to broaden their advertising reach.
Despite the rapid growth in Internet usage in the past few years, the growth of online advertising failed to mirror the trend, with many businesses losing faith in the Internet following the dot.com crash.
But that trend is now reversing, with more than $99 million spent on online advertising in Australia in the first half of 2003, according to a report released by industry monitor Audit Bureau of Verification Services.
This figure represents a huge leap from the $60 million spent in the full year of 2001 and the $2 million spent online in Australia in 1996.
Clickstream founder and managing director Carlo Bertozzi said a number of high-profile Perth advertisers had made forays into online advertising in the past 12 months, including the RAC and the WA Tourism Commission.
“We are also running our first pure online launch campaign, for the Perth DVD rental startup – Quickflix,” he said
The shift of such high-profile Perth advertisers is “just the vanguard of the move into online by traditional advertisers” in WA, he said.
“Agencies and clients are starting to see how online advertising is about more than bland banners and that they can impact on branding as well as response,” Mr Bertozzi said. “The other great step forward is that many of the campaigns have included innovative rich media advertising, such as floating or expanding ads.
“This has generated higher response rates and better branding for the clients involved.”
A recent study into online advertising by Roy Morgan highlighted ‘targeting’ as the main reason for using online advertising over other mediums.
A company can target existing and potential customers using geographic, demographic, search and behavioural data with a relatively small advertising spend.
“As well as being highly targeted, the medium is also highly accountable,” Mr Bertozzi told WA Business News.
“The results are available almost in real time and online, so marketers have the ability to optimise their campaigns, the results of which can feed through to their offline marketing.
“Testing and measurement can determine the best combination of on and offline media to deliver cost effective customer communications and optimise return on investment.”
ineedhits founder and managing director Clay Cook expects significant growth in the market for online advertising, with all major search engines now focusing on the advertising market.
“The market has been an ‘early adopter’ market and is now moving into an ‘early majority’ market, so it’s set to explode,” he said.
Mr Cook said that, in the US alone, paid listings were valued at $US1.4 billion.
He said that ineedhits was moving with the market, which was tending towards a ‘pay-per-click’ model.
The major search engines, such as Google, were testing the market with regards to ‘pay-per-click’ pricing models, according to Mr Cook
“We will benefit in the long and short term and expect to grow significantly this year,” he said.
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