2000 ad spending shows big growth

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B-to-b ad spending surged sharply in the first half of this year, according to figures released last week by Business Information Network Inc.

The gain is important because it shows that depleted market caps of many b-to-b companies have not led to decreased ad spending. Some b-to-b executives and analysts had fretted this would happen.

Among BIN’s most significant findings:

• Overall b-to-b ad spending was up 13% in the first half of this year, compared with the same period in 1999.

• Ad pages were up 5.9% in the first half of 2000.

• The finance, business and advertising category led the charge with a 57% boost in ad spending.

Other top sector gains came in manufacturing and electrical equipment, up 15.8%; services, direct response and classified, up 12.5%; agriculture, up 9%; software, up 8%; and drugs and toiletries, up 8%.

BIN’s numbers refute earlier predictions that b-to-b trade magazine advertising would wither as Web advertising picked up.

‘‘All the forecasters were saying that traditional trade pubs were going to go away and that it would all go to the Web. This obviously hasn’t happened,’’ said Valerie Moul, president of Lancaster, Pa.-based Godfrey Advertising. ‘‘Y2K funds that were never used might be going toward marketing. And you are also seeing the b-to-b portals and vortals advertising in trade magazines. They’ve discovered that advertising on the Web isn’t enough,’’ she said.

Robust Q2

Indeed, BIN’s findings reveal that b-to-b ad pages are expanding quicker than at any time in recent memory.

For example, as recently as February, ad pages in trade publications climbed a mere 0.21% from a year earlier.

‘‘I’m delighted with the second quarter figures,’’ said Gordon Hughes II, American Business Media president-CEO. He predicted, however, that BIN’s third quarter figures would not be as robust.

‘‘You won’t see the major double-digit growth you’ve seen in the second quarter,’’ he said, because dot-com advertising will likely trail off as some start-ups curtail spending or go out of business. Hughes also noted that b-to-b advertising page spending was flat in 1999, which left ample room for marked growth during the first half of 2000.

The BIN report is compiled for ABM by Competitive Media Reporting.

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