A report in today’s The Australian newspaper reinforces the view that online advertising is becoming big business in Australia. The large Australian media players dominated, with PBL having an estimated online advertising market share of 23.6%, News Limited 10.2% and Fairfax Digital 10.2%. The Sensis directory network was responsible for 21.2% of the market share while Google was just behind with 21.2%. According to Frost and Sullivan, the internet advertising industry grew by over 62% last year and is likely to hit AUD3 billion by 2010. “More than 8 per cent, and rising, of the $11.903 billion advertising market is now spent on the internet, up from just 5 per cent a year ago” according to another recent report in the The Australian.
Some issues to consider include how the dominance of these big players will affect not only the online advertising market but also the content. Will content be leveraged as an attractor for paid advertisers to harness “eyeballs”, or will more interactive and bounded spaces be created? Will there be a counter-revolution against online sites with advertising or will advertising online become more information focused and blur indistinctly with traditional web information services? Online consumers already use filtering and anti-spam devices to avoid advertising, so advertisers need to tread carefully. A framweork for thinking about online advertising recommends an incremental approach for marketing in the online environment.
I think that advertisers will need to do more than communicate online what they have traditionally done with print and radio, for example. Online is ubiquitous but also polymorphous. Brand building online is a difficult challenge.
How the advertisers choose to communicate and via what online environment (pop-ups, permission marketing, interactive, clubs) will determine the extent of consumer response. Indeed, consumer responsiveness will still be related to engagement and interest in the content of the site, so content will still be king in the majority of cases.