UPBEAT ADTECH SHOW FEELS NEW ONLINE INDUSTRY VIGOR

Hot Topics: Broadband Growth, Media Standards and Results Measurement

By Published on .

SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- The growth of broadband Internet services, interactive media standards and a push to demonstrate measurable results from online marketing

Related Stories:
MAJOR AD CLIENTS TAKE ESPN ONLINE TIME IN TV UPFRONT
Lexus, Gatorade, Universal Pictures Include Internet Component in Buys
ONLINE TRAFFIC MONITORING RIVALS LAUNCH NEW WEB TOOLS
Nielsen, Media Metrix Target Daypart Measurement
AT-WORK ONLINE SHOPPERS AS WEB'S MOTHER LODE?
New Report Cites Affluence, Savvy and Access to High-Speed Connections
AT-WORK INTERNET USERS BIGGEST ONLINE SPENDERS
Consume More Online Media Than TV, Study Finds
AUTOMAKERS BIGGEST USERS OF ONLINE RICH MEDIA ADS
Ford Motor Co. Leads the Pack
ONLINE TRAVEL SITES SHOW SPIKE IN TRAFFIC
43% of All Web Users Lured by Promotions and Packages
ONLINE MARKETING EXPERIMENT BOOSTS SALES NEARLY 500%
Yahoo! Analyzes Results of New Idea: Old-Fashioned 'Sale Days'
BROADBAND 2002: SHOWING SIGNS OF LIFE
User Base Expanding; Online Marketers See Some Light
51% OF U.S. ONLINE TIME NOW BROADBAND
Online Usage Patterns Hit New Milestone in January


and media programs were the hot topics to come out of the three-day AdTech conference held here.

The bi-annual gathering of marketers, online publishers, agencies, interactive technology providers and other industry players drew 2,000 attendees, three times as many as the May 2002 gathering in Los Angeles. The mood was decidedly upbeat, but in the city most closely identified with the dot-com boom and bust, industry players aren't about to gloat. Still, there was a renewed sense of mission and vigor among those in attendance.

Broadband momentum
Fueling this momentum, industry players said, is the adoption of broadband, offering consumers high-speed access to the Internet. Broadband usage, as research from the Online Publishers Association and several of its member publishers has shown, lures affluent people to spend more time researching, browsing and ultimately purchasing goods and services on the Web.

Nielsen/NetRatings on June 17 reported that in the U.S., 39 million people, or 13% of the population, are accessing the Internet by broadband connections. At-home broadband usage grew 49% year-over-year while dial-up Internet users decreased 12% in May 2003. Consumers over the age of 65 are the fastest-growing age group using broadband, up 64% to 1.7 million users. Students represent the largest group of broadband consumers, 7.8 million, up 51% from last year, though more than 12.3 million students still access the Net using dial-up connections, Nielsen/NetRatings reports.

Dial-up woes
"[Ad] sellers and buyers have been held hostage by dial-up [Internet] usage," he added. Once broadband penetration hits a critical mass of 30 million households, similar to how the cable TV industry grew in the 1980s, marketers are more likely to embrace the Web, said Peter Petrusky, a principal at Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Even as some top ad spenders, such as McDonald's Corp., Unilever and Coca-Cola Co., are dipping their toes into the digital stream, many others continue to sit on the sidelines. "Traditional marketers have waited because they still don't understand the medium and how it fits into the overall [media] mix, though that is starting to change," Mr. Petrusky said. He cited cross-media studies by the Interactive Advertising Bureau that point to efficiencies gained by integrating digital media into a traditional media plan.

Revenue growth
Interactive advertising revenues in 2002 reached $6 billion, according to Pricewaterhouse and the IAB, down from $7.1 billion in 2001. However, revenues rose 9% in the fourth quarter of 2002 over the third quarter, representing the first quarterly increase in two years. For 2003, Mr. Petrusky projected a 5% to 10% growth rate for Internet advertising, while Marc Ryan, director of analysis, Nielsen/NetRatings, forecast a 5% rate.

"We're on the education curve," said Mr. Ryan, who described the mindset of marketers skittish about online media as "offline media protectionism." To allay concerns about return on investment, publishers and other industry players need to offer marketers clear and uniform ad standards; provide dynamic rich-media advertising; make interactive ad buys easier; speak in the same language as offline media; and provide measurable results using accepted methodologies.

"Rich media will drive brand marketers online," Mr. Ryan said.

Advice to marketers
Marketers should take new forms of media and emerging technologies seriously or risk being left behind, said Bob DeSena, director of relationship marketing for Masterfoods USA, a Mars Co. Mr. DeSena, who helped lead a global online contest to choose the next M&M candy color (purple received the most votes), said the process taught him that marketers need to make consumers part of the marketing process.

"The consumer is the boss," he said, adding that the Internet facilitates communication and, ideally, an ongoing dialogue with consumers.

In this article:
Most Popular