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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How Did 2009 Fair Regarding Ad Spend?

Sorry it took so long but not all the ad budget numbers for 2009 were out or easily within reach. But none the less, I have finally pieced the "ad spend" puzzle together with the use of a little math and multiple sources including Nielsen, Forrester and the IAB.

So how did 2009 fair regarding ad spend and which channels were hit the most you ask? Well let's take a look. Below are charts showing ad spend for TV, Digital and Other Traditional for 2008 vs 2009.

In summary we notice that in 2009 TV advertising fell 6%, other traditional advertising dropped 16% (which includes magazines and publications), and digital advertising dipped just 3% as shown more clearly below.

Examining just the digital ad budgets more closely we see that search is the fair share of spend and growing.

In particular we see that search, banner and video ad spend are all up 2008 vs 2009 while email, classifieds, affiliates and lead gen are down.

So what is the forecast for 2011?

According to ZenithOptimedia, overall US ad spend will grow 2.2% in 2010 and 2.4% on 2011. Keep an eye out as they are continually upping their estimates. A good sign.


According to Forrester, TV ad spend in particular will be up 1% in 2010 to a level of $69.5 billion.


And, digital ad spend in particular is forecast to hit $25.1 billion in 2010. An increase over 2009 of 11%


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Be careful when looking at those numbers from ComScore, Nielsen and others.

Last semester I began having my students at NYU do month to month comparisons in search share for the big three (Google, Yahoo and Bing). I was particularly interested in doing this when I began noticing that some sources were stating Google as losing share to Bing while others were not.

I thought how can this be? Each of the major players in this online audience measurement space (ComScore, Nielsen and Experian) all have gigantic panels. So I decided to dig a bit further.

Until I began having my students conduct this exercise I did not even realize how far off Experian was versus the others. I thought, once again, how can this be?

Take a look at the below charts one of my students created for my summer Web Analytics class.

Upon examination of these charts we note two things.

First, we note that one of the three sources (Experian) is far off from the others in terms of Google share of search by almost 7 percentage points. Wow! That is definitely a significant difference even with panels in the millions. I wonder who is right.

Secondly, we note that two of the sources (Nielsen and Experian) each states Google search share being down June vs. May while the other source (ComScore) states Google search share is up. Again, I wonder who is right.

Thinking about this more and contemplating writing a blog entry on this topic, one of my summer students flipped me an article dealing with this exact issue. It was a story she had just read in the Los Angeles Times titled:

Hulu's sharp decline in viewership underscores inconsistency in measuring size of online audiences.

In this article it is revealed that when ComScore changed its measurement methodology Hulu's viewership numbers plunged from 43.5 million in May to 24 million in June. The article goes on to talk about these wildly divergent audience numbers and how all the players have been working hard to make improvements in their methodology.

Let me ask you a question.

Do you think it might be a bit harder to create a representative panel to measure what content we are consuming on the web versus doing the same to measure the content consumed on cable or in print?


I have always told my students that the variation in measurements on the web is most likely subject to other errors not typical seen in more stable “environments.” After all, there are very long and dark tails on the web that we might or might not trail off to on any given day given what comes up in search or paid search or where the links our friends tell us to visit via a facebook post. It is pretty vast and dynamic out there on the Internet. So, in a way we should not be surprised to see this variation.

So until such a time comes that measurement is more stable and we can account for this hard to quantify variation, what can you do?

Plan accordingly and use results from various sources and not just one source.

Additionally, remember these variations will in all likelihood be even more severe for those smaller and free web traffic tools offered by Compete, Quantcast, and Alexa. They are all great and I use them regularly for research but definitely with caution.

Never jump to conclusions based on research data from one source alone.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

An AOL Update

Did you notice that AOL has been in the news again lately? It appears they are gearing up to forcefully push forward with their new agenda of original content sites and a performance based advertising model as discussed in my prior blog entry on April 5, 2009 titled "I was thinking about AOL the other day."

In that blog entry, AOL was just beginning to lay the foundation for this new strategy. Well, it appears they are now moving forward and quite aggressively. What were they waiting for? Were they waiting for the advertising business to come back a bit from the recession of last summer and fall?

Let's take a look at some of the new moves made by AOL and Tim Armstrong.

  • Armstrong has hired a few more Google executives including David Eun who served as the vice president of strategic partnerships at Google. David will be responsible for AOL's 80+ content sites.

  • Armstrong also hired Sashi Seth who was in charge of the monetization of YouTube while at Google. At AOL he will be the SVP of global advertising products -- their new performance based advertising model I assume.

  • They are pushing hard for original rather than repurposed content on their various sites within the MediaGlow network. Currently 80% of content on their various sites is new and unique -- I would say they are succeeding.

  • Armstrong recently launched Seed.com, a new venture that aims to make it easy and cheap for freelancers to create and publish stories and articles -- what a great way to support their goal of obtaining original content right?

  • AOL also bought StudioNow, a platform for creating and distributing online video -- again making it easier for others to create that original content they so desire.

A lot happening at AOL. I cannot wait to see how it all plays out. Being one that grew up with AOL, I wish them luck.