2009 Ends, Hard Times Continue for Consumer Electronics Brands

  |  December 30, 2009   |  Comments

As the year winds down, the sellers of smart phones and LCD screens still cower in the bottom of the funnel.

To judge only from ad spending reports, one might think digital marketing is still living high on the hog while other mediums are trampled underfoot. Zenith Optimedia and Magna Global both recently predicted steady growth in the sector, while TNS Media Intelligence said Internet expenditures held strong during the first nine months of 2009.

The truth is more complicated. The online ad sector has been racked by layoffs over the past year as clients nix flashy brand campaigns. Nowhere is this truer than in the consumer electronics industry, where the sellers of smartphones and LCD screens are still advertising heavily -- but mostly using cheap direct response media.

Lana Femiak, media supervisor at Dentsu America, said the recession has benefited online to an extent as big consumer electronics clients seek cheap alternatives to TV.

"A lot of clients have been investing more online as opposed to TV," she said. But Femiak said the sites that are winning those dollars are direct response-oriented.

"We tend to invest more with bottom of the funnel and endemic sites," such as shopping properties, research sites, and search, she said. "Branding and awareness is not the first place we look."

Adam Kasper, SVP and director of digital at Media Contacts, agreed. He said price-conscious shoppers have forced electronics brands and retailers to shift budgets toward bulk direct response buys with targeting layered on. Kasper argued portals and ad networks are better positioned to capture those dollars than smaller content properties.

"Content sites aren't seeing as much, because they have a harder time meeting lower price demands," he said.

That has been borne out in the experience of some publishers. Nick Denton, publisher of Gawker Media, said last month that electronics brands are not spending on holiday ads to the degree hoped.

"Some of these smartphone buys aren't quite as big as we would have expected," Denton said. He called that "fairly shocking, given the heat in that space."

Through its Gizmodo tech blog, and other guy-focused blogs such as Kotaku and io9, the branded blog network has learned to count on big Q4 media buys from the likes of Sony and Motorola. And the first half of the year was strong, which may have lulled the Gawker sales team into a false sense of security.

"We did much better than expected in first half, so allowed our hopes to get up," he continued.

Meanwhile some direct marketing channels are reporting strong results in the same category.

Kontera, an in-text ad network, has trumpeted an 80 percent growth in advertiser spending since last holiday season. The performance-based ad seller said it's trafficking twice the number of consumer electronics campaigns and that the average budget is about 40 percent larger than it was the previous year.

ClickZ Live Toronto Twitter Canada MD Kirstine Stewart to Keynote Toronto
ClickZ Live Toronto (May 14-16) is a new event addressing the rapidly changing landscape that digital marketers face. The agenda focuses on customer engagement and attaining maximum ROI through online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Register now and save!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zachary Rodgers

Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects. 

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

ion Interactive Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper

Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper
Marketing apps can elevate a formulaic landing page into a highly interactive user experience. Learn how to turn your static content into exciting marketing apps.

eMarketer: Redefining Mobile-Only Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop

Redefining 'Mobile-Only' Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop
A new breed of selective mobile-only consumers has emerged. What are the demos of these users and how and where can marketers reach them?

Jobs

    • Contact Center Professional
      Contact Center Professional (TCC: The Contact Center) - Hunt ValleyLooking to join a workforce that prides themselves on being routine and keeping...
    • Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador
      Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreAgora, www.agora-inc.com, continues to expand! In order to meet the needs of our...
    • Design and Publishing Specialist
      Design and Publishing Specialist (Bonner and Partners) - BaltimoreIf you’re a hungry self-starter, creative, organized and have an extreme...