Online Spend to Increase

Last week we posted an article about the decline in print advertising spend across many well-known, well-read publications.   In that posting, it was discussed that there was not a supporting view of how much of those dwindling dollars in print advertising were going to online advertising.   Well, no sooner did we publish that post that another study was brought to light on online spend. And another, and another!

First up – in reading a blog post by Adam Cohen (thanks, Adam!), a fellow marketing colleague who I met through Twitter, reported on this interesting shift in spending:

“…a study by Epsilon that revealed some insight as to what 175 CMOs and marketing executives are doing in a rough economy.  While nearly all CMOs and marketing executives in the study agreed that “a tough economic period is precisely the time when marketing plays a key role,” a majority (65%) said that spend on advertising as a whole will decrease.  A key insight, however, is that 63% of the folks surveyed also see an increase in spend on digital/interactive marketing.  Nearly a third of those surveyed work at companies with greater than $10 Billion in annual revenues last year.  Wow.”

Wow is right.  So, even with the decrease in advertising spend, what’s left over is being directed to online spend.   Some of the factors mentioned as to why this is happening is that marketer’s can do a better job measuring online effectiveness, and uncovering buyer behaviors that were previously masked by print ads because you never quite know how they got to a certain point.  The Internet allows us to see the journey of the buyer in a new light.

The reality is that things are moving faster in the online space than we would all like, especially in the social media realms.  Recent growth statistics are staggering, some we’ve come across include:

From Marketing Charts:, and Ning, which racked up 343%, 330% and 251% year-over-year audience growth respectively,  were the fastest-growing US online social networking sites as ranked in September, according to (pdf) rankings from Nielsen Online., with 59.4 million unique visitors in September, topped the month’s list of US social networking sites and grew one percent over September 2007. It was followed by Facebook, with 39.0 million unique visitors, and a growth rate of 116%.

While this does not account for traditional B2B online investments, let’s not ignore the message that experimentation is happening across web 2.0 technologies.  The key will be how marketing can tie in social media efforts to impact sales.   That is the secret code.  The preliminary results are still coming in, and it’s early.

The bottom line is that while our 2009 marketing budgets may be reduced, many organizations will be redirecting their spend in online programs, from advertising to search engine marketing, to social media programs.  But where specifically?

In today’s BtoB Online, they highlighted a recent Forrester study that suggested B2B online spend will stay in traditional digital tactics:

More than 60% of respondents use conventional digital lead-generation tactics such as e-newsletters and webinars, while less than one-third use blogs, podcasts and social networks for marketing.

Are you dizzy yet?  Let’s ignore all this data for a moment because it can generate alot of hype.

Where are you seeing shifts in your marketing spend this year?  Share your thoughts, we can all learn together…. and make it real.


  1. Adam Cohen says:

    Hey Juliann – Thanks for reading my post, and for sharing, I really appreciate it! I for one, am dizzy… I think social media initiatives are on the fence. Executives have to decide where to put their advertising spend – traditional has challenges with effectiveness and measurable impact, while *some* online initiatives can be measured explicitly. For example, SEM can be measured in decimal places for ROI. Social media (blogs, community building, advertising on Facebook, etc) is not always as tangible and may be perceived as “experimental.” What I hope they discover is that these initiatives are part of a long term view of engaging customers. We’ll see how it evolves, it will be interesting to say the least. Thanks again.

  2. juliann says:


    Thanks for the comment. I agree with your thoughts that it can be confusing on knowing where to put marketing dollars, especially when comparing print vs. online. Print is more the cozy, fleece blanket that we all know and love, and after many years of wrestling a way to measure it to the ground, we have a level of expectation that it can’t be measured in total. On the other hand, online can be measured in multiple ways, in almost a data overload fashion and it’s up to marketing to distill out the most important numbers for measurement, and is often considered “experimental” as you noted.

    Thanks for helping shed light on this with us, all the world is a stage and we are the many players….

  3. Thanks a ton for writing this, I thought it was really helpful, and it answered many of the problems I had.

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