Internet Ad Spend Beats Print, Finally

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I can’t believe it’s taken this long but we’re  finally seeing advertising dollars follow consumers to the internet where print and internet ad spend will be equal in 2015.

This chart appears at and they explain it thus,

According to a recent forecast by ZenithOptimedia, online advertising in 2015 will overtake print advertising for the first time. For the coming year the analysts are already expecting that the internet will attract more advertising dollars globally in 2013 than newspapers. Internet advertising expenditure will grow at 14 to 15 percent per year and will be taking 23.4 percent of all advertising money worldwide by 2015.

Old habits are hard to break  and that is definetly the case with print advertising as it relates to the internet.

There are several reasons that this has taken so long.  The first has to be that online advertising is a moving target.  What worked yesterday may still work today but be trumped by the newest thing.  Search engine marketing maybe the best example as early on search engines didn’t even exist  and now a retailer can use the Google ad network to buy a “local” ad on the New York Times site that will only be seen by consumers in his market.    Buying a local ad on a national site is still beyond the comprehension of most local retailers.

Another reason the spending for online took so long to pass print spending is that so much can be done on the internet for so little money.  The local ad on a national site program from Google costs a fraction of what a 3 col. x 10″ ad costs in a local paper.  A mere fraction.  Social sites are effective marketing tools for local advertisers and there is no publication costs at all.

The third reason this has taken so long relates to the second, it’s cheap.  Because it’s so inexpensive it’s hard for traditional agencies both large and small to make money on such low cost efforts.  So we don’t have anyone, especially in local markets representing the value of the internet to local retailers.  The internet is a self-serve business model and local retailers just don’t have the time to keep up with all that is happening.

The lesson for national brand managers in charge of local advertising is to provide local retailers with the insights, assets and capability to promote themselves online.    Thank goodness there are marketing platforms that can help with print and the internet making life much easier for retailers and deliver better ROIs for brand managers.

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