September 10 , 2002 Volume 2 Issue 14
From June there have been dozens of articles with numbers. Internet/web numbers.
i.e., online ad spending is up 11% in 2002. After being down 11% in 2001. According to Geoff Ramsey of eMarketer, a research firm.
Holly Becker of Lehman Brothers says online advertising is down 13% in 2002, after a decline of 13% in 2001.
What? These numbers aren't close! 11 or 13 ... okay. Up or down a tick, fine. Yet, when those getting ink in the big time press are generations apart with statistics, it makes the rest of us question the numbers. All the numbers. Not unlike the shepard crying "wolf". Or anyone who exaggerates every situation ... after a while everything is a question mark.
And this is not good for marketing. We need real numbers. We measure results, and real numbers are part of our vocabulary.
Hey, I am not a research guy. Not my bag. Surveys - surface level learning and evaluation ... sure. Dig down deep research, that's a speciality not in my collection. So, I need these pros to do their work and share their knowledge. Yet, would you pay those who toss about figures as far apart as those above? I think not.
Another set of numbers ... looking to the future; broadband households in the USA will grow to 34.7 million by 2004. From just over half that figure today. Do you believe that ... I'd like to, yet I don't. Have been in too many households using dial up, because they either don't have a choice - or the choice is so expensive the vote has been "no".
There appears to be no doubt the amount of time spent online is going up. By those already online. At work it's pushing 7 hours a week ... that number seems low. I come closer to that much per day! At home it's about 3½ per week. Both these numbers are up from 2001 - very believable. How much is only the question.
What is also believable is the move to online has slowed. Meaning the leading edge has pulled the middle with them ... and yet, those not on aren't getting on. Growth is up, just not at the same rate as pre-2002.
Looks like 153 million Americans visit the web at least once every 30 days. About 53% of the total population. The number will continue upward ... just not as fast as in the past. My guess is this same group will increase their time online at a rate faster than new people join the parade.
Another stat that is not a surprise is that other media is hurting. We know magazines have taken a blow from the Internet. For many the fall off has been as much as 20%. Sarah Chubb of CondeNet has several online .com sites to support her paper product. Her response is the leaders can grow ... "if they're reading Epicurious online they won't have time to subscribe to the No. 2 and No.3 books."
Ms. Chubb is probably right - at least I think so. For the most part I'm not signing up for any new magazines. None. They are either online or I'm not a reader. And for almost all of my current collection of subscriptions, they are not getting renewed. My reading is going more and more online.
Newspapers are also a part of the "click" world. Chris Schroder of the WashingtonPost.com reports the site gets 80% of their traffic from outside the circulation geography. Of course, this is a Washington paper - our Nation's capital - home of our government. That's probably not the same per-cent for the Yuma Daily Sun, Los Angeles Times or Atlanta Constitution.
A few weeks ago I wrote about E-zines. And another about spam. One thing I noticed was no pattern as to the time of day of delivery. It was 24/7 with no more before breakfast vs. early afternoon vs. dinner time. Schroder sees a "spike in advertisers interested in placement by time of day." Soon this will make sense. Radio and television have been selling by time of day for decades - it will happen on the Web. Soon.
Television - especially cable television - is also affected. MSNBC thinks on the plus side. They talk about a 4 million audience for their prime time TV programming. With a heavy web visit audience, too.
Merrill Brown, editor-in-chief of MSNBC.com, says 55% of those surfing to their site have a 56K connection or higher. Those who wish will spend 1½ minutes watching an online on-demand video. Brown feels video advertising is knocking at the door. Undoubtedly true - just not yet.
Let's return to results. Lawrence M. Kimmel, chair and CEO of Grey Direct spoke at a DMA conference early in the summer. He repeated what most of us have believed for all our years in direct; advertising agencies and their clients have no idea what their Return On Investment (ROI) is for advertising expenditures. Which is a key reason direct is gaining respectability - including a spot in the Cannes awards program - we are ROI people.
To me it's always been fascinating working with clients ... especially the last 3-4 years. They ALL ask what they're going to gain; "If I invest $100,000 what am I going to get in return?" is a question in every first meeting.
Which is where electronic media and direct come together. As you can very quickly gain an answer. For television - according to Kimmel - it takes only 3 minutes to know if you've made it or not. For e-mail 60% of the result you're going to get you can expect within 3 hours, he says.
My experience says these numbers are rather optimistic - an hour for television and up to 3 days for E-mail is more realistic. Especially for B-2-B E-mail marketing. Yet, how quick is a detail. What is important is you can analyze ... you can measure - you learn your ROI ... and you learn it quickly. Which is nice. Very nice.
One of the laws of statistics is if you don't like what you've got - get more. Another law is given enough you can prove anything. These "rules" apply to online numbers, too.
This week's return to the West run began in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, through Abilene, Texas, to Casa Grande, Arizona and ended in Morro Bay, California. Where Ray 'sat' for the Labor Day week-end with family and friends.
Since this business/pleasure ride began Ray has been in 30 of the 48 USA mainland States, 3 Provinces of Canada, and ridden 11,162 miles.
For the full story of the August ride, "click" here.