Online Advertising as Big Tent

While some view online ads as a zero-sum game — online gains represent offline losses — I generally take the view that online advertising is shifting dollars from other media, as well as helping grow the offline advertising pie (at least a little). Looking backwards, that has been the case in other periods too, like when TV hit the mainstream:

Every other consumer medium lost share from 1950 to 1960, yet every
medium still managed to gain revenue during that booming decade. Even
radio, most threatened by TV, managed a small gain.

While I’m not convinced the effect will be as pronounced this time, I think we’ll still see a general spend expansion.

[via AdAge]


  1. Yes, until the next economic “correction”, at which point marketing spend will be reduced and focused on those areas where the ROI is more demonstrable. I suspect that’s when online advertising spend will continue to climb where as offline spend will flatten or decline, because it’s more targeted and measurable.

  2. I agree with Jordan. More interesting to me is the profound effect that technology must, and will have on the ability to create, deliver, manage and measure advertising in the long tail, particularly when you look at interactive broadband content delivery. No comparable scale economies to buying big TV, especially when you look at the array of content, placement, and mediums available. Explains a lot about MSFT plus AQNT for $6bil.