Despite Recession, Online Advertising Increases in 2009, projected higher in 2010

Every year, more and more of retail takes place online.  The recession is pushing toward more direct response advertising, causing an uptick in online advertising between 3% and 5% in an otherwise down year.  Search is expected to perform similarly, and 2010 is predicting an increase in online advertising dollars between 10% and 15%.  For online publishers and advertisers, this means that despite sluggish growth overall, the Internet continues to grow at several times the overall economy.  Although search engine consolidation has caused bid prices to increases, the prevalence of content networks and alternative search networks creates new opportunities for online advertisers to reach customers in a cost effective manner.

Social Media appears to be one of the interesting potential story, as a source of advertising dollars and business, search continues to grow, display ads are relatively stagnant, and alternative campaigns in new medias inches upward.  Despite it’s status as media darling, Twitter remains a small niche play, with popular Facebook game FarmVille having more users than Twitter.  Email newsletters remain big business, but the movement from getting content pushed into your inbox toward networks and feeds continues, creating new opportunities for online advertisement.  2009 looks to have finished as a slight positive in a down economy, and 2010 looks quite promising.

Are Single Revenue Media Companies Dead?

That subject line caught my eye the other day.  As someone who started with a programming shop turned SEO shop, the idea of a single revenue media company makes sense to me.  You focus on what you know and do it well.  Television stations sell ad spots, newspapers sell ads, and websites sell ad spaces, whether they do it CPM or CPC.

Should companies need to diversify?  In my mind, when I’m representing a company, I want to have plenty of places to put their ads.  However, the mega channel companies usually suck at all of them as opposed to the single channel companies.  Many companies go to the Mega companies because they lack a dedicated media buyer in house, and hate the idea of hiring an agency.  But this to me seems like a great area for agencies to add value, and what is a multi-channel company other than a agency + series of channel companies.

Somewhere, the company is grabbing the agency model, because they are paying their customer service people.  If they make less than agencies do, it’s because they do a worse job, just pushing you to channels that don’t do a good job.

The whipsaw of the market hurts the undiversified, but if you are really good at what you do, if you manage to handle the downswings, you should do better than if you are mediocre at everything.