Business/E-Business
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12/14/2007
05:36 PM
Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
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Online Advertising Offers Opportunity To Smaller Companies

Jumping 25% to $20 billion in 2007, online advertising may sound like big business. And it is. But despite that growth, Web ads still offer creative smaller companies the best way to counter the Super-sized advertising budgets of their enterprise competitors.

Jumping 25% to $20 billion in 2007, online advertising may sound like big business. And it is. But despite that growth, Web ads still offer creative smaller companies the best way to counter the Super-sized advertising budgets of their enterprise competitors.According to Seth Sutel at the Associated Press, ratings SNAFUs kept that number from being even higher, given how many people spend so much time online.

Unlike traditional media, which have well established ratings providers like Neilsen and Arbitron, the Internet remains the Wild West of audience ratings. People can't even agree on exactly what should be measured, and the measures aren't easily compared to traditional ratings, making it hard for big advertisers to figure out how to spend their huge ad budgets.

And that opens the door for small and midsize companies to jump in with both feet. Because the truth is, despite the confusion surrounding Web ratings, the online world is already far more trackable -- and thus more efficient -- than radio, television, newspapers, magazines, billboards, and the rest. Even better, the current confusion means that Web ads are not properly priced, and may offer even better bargains than those intrinsic to the medium.

Sure, I'm biased because I run an ad-supported Web site, but consider this: even as marketers press Web publishers for better, more consistent data, at least the data that is there addresses user behavior, not just how many people might have seen a billboard or TV commercial. As Sutel puts it:

Traditional measures may not even apply to the Web, some executives say, because the benefits the Web offers  most notably, the opportunity for users to click right through and buy the advertiser's product  aren't comparable to other media.

Eventually, everyone will figure this out and prices will rise as even more ad dollars move to the Web. But in the meantime, there's an opportunity to be taken advantage of.

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