Web Advertising: Does it Work for Small Businesses?

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By Nike Kern, Business Reporter

The verdict is still out on whether advertising on the web works for small or large businesses. Some critics in the field believe that the Internet marketplace may not be a strategic venue for a targeted advertising message – yet.   “Most ad servers do not allow the ability to perform complex targeting based on the wide variety of data available, but the issues are complex, “ says Daniel Jaye recently on the “Next Big Thing,” a popular blog by Microsoft executive, Don Dodge. A former executive at Tacoda, the behavioral ad-targeting firm acquired by AOL, Jaye explains adserving technology needs to be improved extensively. Results from ad targeting campaigns need to be proven. And, the ad serving technology must be easy for a junior ad buyer to understand and use.

EMarketer, an on-line source for analysis of Internet market trends and data from more than 3,000 worldwide sources, estimates that by 2011 online video ads will generate $4.3 billion, or about 10 percent, of overall Internet ad revenue in the United States, up from $410 million, or 2.4 percent, last year.

Standards are currently being put in place by the IAB, the global nonprofit group open to companies actively engaged in the sale of interactive advertising and marketing, that are intended for marketers, agencies and media companies for use in creating, planning, buying and selling of interactive marketing and advertising. This in turn will assist the industry as it tries to become more uniform and will result in more accountability from the advertiser’s perspective.

In Oregon alone, there are hundreds of marketing or “ad” agencies that are competing for the same client dollars and, they too are advertising on the web through their own web sites and Internet savvy strategies – Facebook, too.

Back on the east coast, longtime creative director, Chuck Bates of Bates Design, Inc., a leading marketing firm says, “Advertising on the web must work, because everybody is doing it… Right? The truth is that unless there is a way to track the sale or lead you won’t really know. Frequency is probably the best advertising rule. Be seen as often as possible either thru paid ads, public relations, or client referral. Whenever possible track where the sale or lead came from so you can focus on that source and devote more of the budget in that area of advertising.”

Pablo, president of company