Online advertising: the reality, not the dream

Quite a useful article over at Mashable on the ‘economics of new media‘ where Mark Hopkins aggregates some critiques of online advertising and then promptly debunks the generalisations made in those critiques. I tend to agree with Hopkins; ‘old media’ style advertising does, in fact, work rather well online. That is, it does attract a high level of interactivity with site content, and it does in fact extend the amount of time people stay on sites. Now whether that really counts as ‘working’ is probably debatable; there’s no correllation between exposure to advertising and actual purchasing habits, but there again there has never been much of a correlation between measurable audience size, eyeballs and intention to purchase, and actual buyer behaviour anyway, so that doesn’t really count. What does count is that a fragmented series of content channels in modern media mean that the number of eyeballs accessing content is more distributed, but the costs of creating that media are about the same as they always were… and if rich media, ‘old media-style’ advertising is what pays for the production costs of a content channel, then I for one, won’t shy away from that as a funding mechanism.

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