New stats have shown that in 2010 online advertising revenue hit a whopping $26bn in the US alone.
When you consider that in 2000 online ad revenue stood at just over $8bn, you can see how many of us have spent the last decade online to generate such figures.
Interestingly, the fastest growing segment of online ad spending in 2010 was sponsorships, but the most popular format for advertisers continues to be search advertising.
So what does this mean for brands and the future of advertising? Obviously more brands are using online advertising as a core part of their campaign strategy – rather than it being an add-on for traditional TV or print-based campaigns.
But to be really successful, online advertising should go a step further than just popping up with a message. What’s really crucial is that brands use this opportunity to engage.
As we’ve found with our successful Cultural Movement campaigns for companies such as SMART USA, the internet gives brands the opportunity to talk directly to their consumers, enabling them to reach more people quicker and – most importantly – engage with them.
In today’s society, this is what is needed to turn occasional buyers into loyal brand followers. You can’t achieve the same level of consumer participation from broadcast or print advertising, there’s no opportunity for open dialogue. And just using online advertising as a way to dictate a message, or a ‘me too’ approach, is a wasted opportunity.
Brands should look at online advertising as the start of a relationship between themselves and their customers. By all means, sponsor a link or get your website to appear in search engines. But don’t think that’s job done. Online advertising can go much deeper than that and can reap massive rewards in terms of customer loyalty, spend, recommendations and word of mouth marketing. Are you ready to start the conversation?