Advertising online not the 'marketing magic' it's said to be

US advertising guru Bob Hoffman questions whether online advertising gets the necessary sales results to make it effective.
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US advertising guru Bob Hoffman questions whether online advertising gets the necessary sales results to make it effective.

Everyone uses the internet, and everyone uses it all the time, but the effectiveness of advertising on it is oversold, an advertising expert says.

He did have some good news for the local business and advertising leaders he spoke to Tuesday night, however, believing online advertising will grow.

United States-based Bob Hoffman, who has more than 40 years' experience as the head of various advertising agencies, was in town for an event organised by TVNZ.

The value of online advertising over more traditional forms might not be as cut and dry as advertisers believe.
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The value of online advertising over more traditional forms might not be as cut and dry as advertisers believe.

He was arguably lucky to make it out alive, however, as he proceeded to breakdown what he described as myths about advertising and the internet.

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His key fact for those present: the internet's ability to deliver effective advertising has been "largely oversold".

There were multiple statistics to back up his claim, such as only seven of every 10,000 display advertisements being engaged with, but how this has managed to happen was less clear.

Hoffman said the internet arrived right at the time advertising agencies were in the doldrums and not much was happening creatively.

The internet gave agencies something new to sell, and something for marketing businesses to become enamoured with, he said.

"It's the shiny new object, and everyone's attracted to it and there was the promise of marketing magic.

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"You could reach people individually with your message, you could reach them at exactly the right time, at exactly the right place, with exactly the right message, and that's very attractive to marketers."

The problem, however, was that while the internet was a worldwide phenomenon which everyone used all the time, this did not necessarily mean it was an effective advertising medium.

Hoffman said the world's largest advertiser, Procter & Gamble, this month announced it was discontinuing targeted advertising on Facebook and putting the money back into mass advertising after its sales fell $US6 billion (NZ$8.3b).

This, as well as other factors, had seen advertisers start to take notice and ask why they were spending so much online, and would likely lead to more traditional advertising.

"I don't think there will be a sea change, I think online advertising will continue to grow, but I think the rate of growth will slow down.

"We know we're getting data, but are we getting sales results?

"That's the issue."

 - Stuff

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