Recent IAB Study Proves Advantages of Online Marketing

October 13th, 2010 by Paula Keller French

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has released the results for their 2010 Half- Year study on Internet Advertising Revenue.

Not surprising to many is that Internet Marketing Revenues for the 1st half of 2010 alone totaled $12.13 billion dollars – an 11.3% increase over the same period in 2009.  If that number is surprising, it’s likely you haven’t yet had your eyes opened to the wonder that is Internet Marketing.

Obviously I’d be a champion for all businesses to hop on the online marketing train, but my beliefs are founded in the great results I’ve seen in my time working within the field, as well as the benefits that online marketing offers, particularly compared to traditional forms of advertising.

The main benefit, in my opinion,  is that you can measure the true effectiveness of your online marketing campaigns. Through the use of phone call tracking numbers and contact forms, you can see the source of your leads, which allows you to measure which aspects of your online marketing mix are most effective. Given strong internal processes, this data also allows you to track leads and potential customers all the way through the close of the sale, giving you your true return on investment figure.  This brings up the importance of making use of the technology available to assist business owners with tracking leads, or even simply using a spreadsheet if you can maintain the data.

For example, say you receive 20 leads over a period of time from source A, and 10 from source B. Many marketing managers or small business owners might view source A as more valuable. However, if you have strong systems in place that track the sales process from the submission of a form or a call to the close of the sale, you might see that 30% of leads from source B become actual customers (3) while only 10% of leads become customers from source A (2).

The benefits of tracking are evident in the IAB study as they report that “the most prevalent pricing model since 2006” is performance-based pricing. The effectiveness of tracking can also fall into the hands of your online marketing agency, as many use leads to prove their value. They may also be willing to work with you to compare your new customers to incoming leads in order to further prove a real-life ROI.

Additional benefits of online advertising include, but are certainly not limited to, the ability to target as well as the cost effectiveness of many programs available. Many online campaigns have a relatively low cost of entry. With search engine optimization and pay-per-click ads, since the magic is in the text, once your site is built there’s no hefty graphic design costs compared to print.

Advantages of Online Marketing

According to the IAB study, retail is the leading purchaser of online advertising. Small to medium businesses need not be intimidated by the large share of the market for which their industry accounts, as yet another benefit of online marketing is that small businesses can compete with larger businesses in the online realm.

Top Industries of Online Advertising:

1.     Retail

2.     Telecom companies

3.     Leisure Travel

4.     Financial Services

5.     Automotive

6.     Computing advertisers

7.     Consumer Packaged Goods and Food Products

8.     Entertainment

9.     Pharma and Healthcare

10. Media

The IAB also reports that the largest portion of revenue is spent on search-related advertising. Search related advertising can be the most effective and bring in more quality leads than display advertising because your products and services are being shown to individuals who are seeking what you are selling (if you target your ads appropriately).

All things considered, online marketing can certainly work for you, but many times, when done incorrectly, advertisers and small business owners don’t see the value because they don’t have enough information to either a) conduct it effectively or efficiently or b) to even know if they are. In this case, advertisers, both small and large, should reach to a seasoned Internet marketing firm with the skills and experience to help you and your business utilize this ever-growing segment of the advertising world.

View the full report here.

Thanks to vizzzual-dot-com for the photo!