An Internet Advertising Reality Check

Impressed by all the hype about the growth of Internet ad spending? Here’s a little reality check.

The absolute dollar figures spent online in 1998 pale in comparison to the billions spent in traditional advertising venues, according to a report by eMarketer.

The eAdvertising Report indicates that television ($48 billion), newspapers ($45 billion), and direct mail ($39 billion), which ranked one-two-three in advertising dollars spent during 1998, dwarfed the $1.5 billion distributed on the Web during that same period.

The report also states that television, newspapers and direct mail will continue to dominate throughout 2002, at $62 billion, $58 billion and $44 billion projected levels, respectively.

The company said its report “offers solid evidence” that ad spending on the Internet, though on the rise, has a long way to go before it diverts serious dollars away from television, magazines, newspapers and other traditional media.

“For 1999, the eAdvertising Report forecasts Web ad spending of $2.6 billion, which still represents a small fraction of total spending, estimated at $217 billion,” said Geoffrey Ramsey, statsmaster at eMarketer. “Even non-network cable advertising, which totaled $2.4 billion, edged out the Web in ad dollars spent during 1998.”

The recent 1998 Internet ad report by the Internet Advertising Bureau pegged 1998 spending at nearly $2 billion, edging out the outdoor category, however.

The eAdvertising Report, published by eMarketer and presented by Advertising Age, contains statistical information aggregated from a range of research sources. The report is available for $795.

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