It is no secret that businesses are increasingly finding significant success through the online medium – and it is perhaps no surprise that two new reports have indicated that companies are now relying on the channel for future growth.

Looking at the broad category of digital media, a survey of more than 200 decision-makers at a number of digital firms by StrategyEye indicated that almost nine in ten of those polled who expressed a clear preference said they believed online ads offer better returns than traditional channels.

Furthermore, while more than two-thirds of those utilising traditional advertising intend to slash spending on this over the next year, over half of online advertisers anticipate an increase in expenditure.

This optimism is not just prevalent in advertising, but in other areas such as mobile and social media, in which a significant proportion of companies are intending to do more to expand their digital activities.

The StrategyEye report also suggested that those involved in search engine marketing may need to keep an eye on developments in the world of the semantic web – according to decision-makers in the search sector, many firms are now focusing on semantic search, potentially as a result of Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Powerset.

Another report, this time by communications agency Carat, has focused specifically on online advertising around the world and came to the conclusion that internet advertising spending is likely to increase over the next year while other channels stagnate or decline.

It estimated that online advertising spending will account for 8.6 per cent of all advertising expenditure globally by the end of this year, with this proportion set to rise to almost ten per cent in 2009.

Jerry Buhlmann of Aegis Media remarked that the growing popularity of the online medium is not just down to shifts in consumer behaviour, explaining that search is now integral in the planning and execution of all campaigns, helping to make both online and offline channels more accountable.

In the light of these studies, as well as a wealth of real-world evidence pointing to the high levels of success that companies are enjoying on the web today, it could be said that the need for high quality internet marketing has never been greater.

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