Executives debate effectiveness of online advertising

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New York--Advertisers, agency executives and tehnology vendors debated the value of online advertising this week at @d:tech New York 2002.

The conference at the Hilton kicked off Monday with a keynote speech by G.M. O'Connell, founder and chairman of Modem Media. O'Connell encouraged marketers to attract Web site visitors by providing increased functionality, such as online customer service.

"On the Internet, it's not about selling, it's about buying," he said. He also warned marketers of the dangers of pop-up ads and spam. "You simply cannot annoy people into liking you, and you can't fool them into it, either," he said.

Marketers in one panel, including Sharon Delman, Eastman Kodak Co.'s VP-corporate marketing & branding and CMO of, said the percentage of Kodak's marketing budget that goes to online advertising is in the low single digits. "We haven't seen the same quantifiable results with Internet advertising as we have in other media," she said. "Until we can point to measurable results, it's a tough sell." Delman said she has focused, instead, on programs such as customer relationship management.

Marketers also discussed ways to improve the execution and measurement of online advertising, including selling ads by dayparts, as is done for broadcast advertising, and selling online ads by sessions, as New York Times Digital does.

Several companies at @d:tech launched or demonstrated products intended to increase the effectiveness of online advertising. They included: Commission Junction, which debuted CJ Vantage, a product that provides technology and services to develop a pay-for-performance marketing program; and Applied Semantics, which was promoting its recently launched AdSense, a contextual advertising program that allows publishers to place ads related to content on a particular Web site page.

--Mary E. Morrison

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