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My name's Joel Kelly and I live in Halifax, NS.

I'm a 20something guy doing digital and social media strategy for a Halifax-based marketing agency.

I'm a vegan nerd and marketing asshole.

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Contact me about whatever (like, say, your marketing questions) at

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Online advertising in a down economy

In a down economy I'm expecting to see lots of web publishers consolidate and more to just fail and fold outright.

Not a terribly bold statement, I know.

And we'll see our clients demand more bang for their buck. But if there are fewer publishers, that means prices aren't going to drop. They'll likely hold steady or even increase.

So we're screwed, right?

Well, lots of online advertisers will be. The ones that rely on simple, high-reach, high-intrusion, Big Box/Leaderboard/Skyscraper campaigns. The ones that don't get it.

Spending will shift even more quickly to search and Cost-Per-Click (basically all performance-based tactics) in continued attempts to maximize the efficiency of budgets.

Some of us, though, are going to think a little harder. Not just provide our clients with more of the same, but try more and more different, new things. Things that no one's thought of yet. Things that publishers don't quite know how to value and assign outrageous prices to yet. Opportunities that we'll invent.

We'll be working with our publishing partners to create more effective, more innovative, and at the same time less intrusive and annoying advertisements and sponsorships. That's a tall order, I know. But it's exciting.

Ask your current or potential advertising firm what they think about the future of online advertising. If they're excited about the new opportunities they'll be ever more compelled to invent, then they're one to stick with.

The new game will be coming up with entirely different tactics instead of waiting for someone else to, and then buying something pre-packaged. That's an old game that can't work when there's less money to go around.

Are you excited?


Glenmore said...

Your most important point is that the positives to an advertising drawdown is clients become more cerebral, and an educated consumer is one I like to deal with. I agree that now is the time when the new online advertising model should emerge. The one that doesn’t feature vokens and monkey-punching, and returns to subtle influence rather than trickery. Now if only I can figure out what that model will be, I can finally begin construction on my solid gold rocket car…

Joel Kelly said...

True that, man... Figuring it all out is going to be the fun part though.

EDWARD said...

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss "traditional" online ads. There's lots of research to confirm that consumers like advertising - they just don't like it constantly in their face. As targeting becomes more refined and publishers get away from old media practices of placing ads in every available square inch well-done ads will be seen to complement content.