The Silver Lining In Advertising’s Perfect Storm

I don’t have to tell you we live in challenging economic times.

Talk of a U.S. recession has permeated the news for well over a year. It seems that every measure of business and economic activity paints a picture of gloom and doom. In fact, a recent study from TNS Media Intelligence, found that total advertising expenditures fell in the first half of 2008.

A careful read of the study confirms the ongoing deceleration of spending on newspaper, television and magazine advertising.

There are some bright spots in the report, however. Internet, cable TV and syndication TV saw gains in ad spending. Internet display advertising jumped 8%. Some may argue that’s a no-brainer. Advertisers are spending in these channels because usage is increasing. They’re just following the eyeballs.

But look beneath the surface and you’ll see why smart marketers are moving more of their budget to internet display advertising.

Internet display advertising shares important benefits with internet search advertising.

The first benefit is targeting. The internet allows advertisers to target their market with a laser-like focus. No matter what you’re selling, you can get your message in front of those with a predisposition to buy. The scattershot approach of traditional media means marketers will certainly overspend to reach the same audience. This approach wastes precious dollars and hurts the bottom line.

The second, and equally important, benefit is measurability. Just knowing how much you’re spending isn’t enough in this tough economy. Knowing what ROI you’re getting on that ad spend is critical to maximizing profitability. The very interactive nature of the internet makes this possible. Clicks are a wonderful thing!

Now, this isn’t ground-breaking information. But it is more important than ever before.

As companies react to tough economic times, those that better target their ad spending and measure and analyze the results will prosper. Those that don’t are in for a stormy future.