Brand-builders look to online space for growth

online-shoppingThe rise of social media and online video is transforming the way marketers think about online brand building, says Michael Nutley, who finds out how the fledgling channels are being integrated into the marketing mix

Online media’s accountability has always meant it’s been seen more as a medium for direct response than branding. But the rise of broadband and the mass adoption of social media are changing attitudes and putting online branding back on the agenda.
Figures from the IAB show the speed at which the balance is changing. Search still dominates the UK’s online advertising, with 61% of spend. But branding is becoming more important – this year it will account for an estimated 12% of spend, up from 5% in 2009.

“There’s no doubt that people are starting to realise that online is a branding medium,” says IAB director of marketing Kieron Matthews. “In the early days of online marketing, people were pulled in by the measurability of ROI, and that’s why search grew so fast. But advertisers are recognising two things. They can now repurpose their TV ads for online, which isn’t necessarily the right thing to do, but it is cheap; and they know that people are searching out the content they want, and that creates a huge opportunity.”

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