Display versus Search Advertising and the Future of Online Ads

An excellent article by Peter Whoriskey from the Washington Post titled Brought to You by . . . Anyone? discusses how major brands have been slow to move their ad dollars to the web. For example, the nation's largest US advertiser, Procter & Gamble, spends only 2 percent of their $5 billion a year advertising budget online. As a result, some experts doubt the advertising revenue available is enough to pay for the kind of content -- articles, videos, etc. -- that Internet visionaries have predicted.

On the other hand, most experts seem to agree that major brands will increasingly move ad dollars online (we agree).

But not necessarily how you may think. Read on............

Guess who spent more for online display advertising in the United States than any other business over the past year?

ANSWER: University of Phoenix.

The University of Phoenix spent as much as $20 million a month for Internet ads in 2007 - most of it on display advertising, which is unusual (display ads are the graphic or pictorial ads that many content sites rely on for revenue). Most of the money a big brand spends online is for search rather than display advertising. The major reason why? According to Peter Whoriskey's article, search advertising allows advertisers to capture a buyer's attention at a moment of relevance. BTW - display advertising accounted for 34 percent of all online ad dollars in 2007 while search advertising is 41 percent of the total - and the gap continues to widen.

But again, many big brand advertisers are still allocating only a small percentage of their ad budget to online. What may change this is the Internet's growing social and interactive aspects (web 2.0, etc.) that allow big brand advertisers to do what they do best - programming. And Peter Whoriskey's article Brought to You by . . . Anyone? does a nice job at describing this.

For example, like other companies marketing online, the University of Phoenix is considering and adopting new Web advertising strategies, some of which blur the line between advertising and programming.
"The University of Phoenix wants to encourage faculty members to have blogs so that when a person searches on a given subject, the results might lead them to the University of Phoenix. They may even produce reality-TV "webisodes" involving people going back to school -- a way to find and engage the target audience. And the company has recently initiated a partnership with the young folksinger Kate Voegele, the first artist signed to MySpace Records. Voegele is taking University of Phoenix classes online, and a MySpace page with her music includes a Web video diary of her touring and making time for studies."
Rob Wrubel, who manages the ad budget for University of Phoenix says this: "It's better than blasting them with banner ads. It's the purest form of advertising. It's testimonial. Rather than just remember our banner ads, people can remember our story."

We at HRmarketer.com will be keeping a close eye on this trend.

Over the last several years, we've helped our HRmarketer.com Services Group customers exploit the benefits of SEO, search optimized press releases, direct email marketing, webcasts, podcasts, blogs, and pay-per-click advertising to generate publicity, web site traffic and sales leads (and improved organic search engine rankings). But as my college Lacrosse coach used to say, "you're only as good as your last game". As a result, our HRmarketer Services Group will begin to experiment with various types of "programming" and other social / interactive marketing tactics in order to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to helping HR vendors generate increased publicity, web site traffic and sales leads.

We'll keep you posted. And again, thanks to Peter Whoriskey from the Washington Post for his excellent article.

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