Teaching New Dogs Old Tricks

Who knew that in a matter of a few years (eight, to be exact) since the first online ad was sold, we’d be using the term “daypart”? It’s part and parcel of the offline world but a stumbling block for many in interactive. As you well know, many online media planner/buyers (and sales folks, for that matter) only have online experience.

The Web is the most powerful medium for advertisers to reach business decision makers, according to a recent Nielsen//NetRatings (NNR)/Washington Post survey. Key findings include the following:

  • 77 percent believe the Web is the best place to find out about new products (this ranks the medium twice as high as magazines).

  • Over 60 percent say they are more responsive to online advertising than advertising on any other medium.
  • Fewer than 40 percent recommending using radio or TV ads to reach them.
  • 47 percent saw a drop-off in their newspaper reading habits.
  • 45 percent say they’ve been reading magazines less over the past year.
  • Only 18 percent who increased their Web usage concurrently reduced time listening to the radio.
  • Business audiences prefer to get news via the Internet.
  • Over 90 percent get news (general and current) online while at work.
  • 45 percent read financial news and check stocks online.

Before we beat our collective chests, remember this is one survey of about 1,000 people. My hat’s off to the results, but as online advertisers we must be cognizant of other facts and figures. I’m hoping other research firms, industry nonprofits, and large online publishers will jump on this bandwagon and provide us with more of these much-needed stats.

Until they do, let’s pay close attention to the obvious. No matter how the data is sliced and diced, the Internet is becoming the preferred medium at work. Advertisers should pay close attention to the activities and lifestyles of those most likely to work in an office.

When advertising to the at-work audience, consider the following:

  • Does your creative incorporate any form of audio or video that may seem intrusive to an at-work user?

  • Craft your call to action. If it’s return on investment (ROI) you’re after, make data captures quick and easy for the user.
  • If you email this audience, can you determine the companies’ browsers? Can they read HTML (usually they can)? You may want to create a text alternative.
  • Corporate spam filters can be merciless compared to home versions. Craft your copy carefully.
  • Have you considered implementing third-party ad-serving filters to only serve these ads throughout daypart? If so, are the sites compliant with the ad-serving requirements?

Several stats report the size of this audience. According to NNR in August 2002, usage is 45 million. Jupiter Research (a unit of ClickZ’s parent corporation) ranks it at 33 million. There’s been roughly a 36 percent increase over two years.

One out of five Americans feels the Internet is the “most essential” medium in his life, according to a new Arbitron/Edison Media Research study. It reports 34 percent of Americans chose the Internet as the coolest and most exciting medium, compared to 35 percent who felt TV was the best medium. Among those 12 to 34 year olds, 46 percent of respondents chose the Internet as the best medium, compared to 29 percent who felt TV was.

Smart media folks build strategic media consumption across the board. Time and relevance are key factors to effectively reach an at-home or at-work audience. Age-old offline media practices still have practical applications.

Why reinvent the wheel when we can use what’s worked for years?

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