The figures show that some 'old' media channels are making a comeback: TV advertising, for example, outpaced the web’s growth, with a 15.8% rise since 2009 (although the Advertising Association says it expects growth to slow to 2.9% in 2011 as the industry settles down).
However, the upsurge in overall ad spend was largely driven by the internet. Pay-per-click ads (the ones displayed next to search engine results), were still popular, growing by 8% last year (having enjoyed constant growth throughout the recession, whereas TV advertising declined). But the big winner was online display advertising – the banners and pop-ups you see displayed on content-driven websites. It’s been lagging behind PPC for the last few years, but the IAB said Facebook’s decision to include relatively low-cost display ads on its pages helped it to grow by 27.5%. In fact, spending on social media advertising as a whole has grown by almost 200% on a like-for-like basis, with Facebook at the forefront of that. And while it’s still relatively small, at just 5% of total ad spend, the figures suggest Facebook could eventually even overtake Google’s display ads business (i.e. not including its pay-per-clicks stuff).
One social media site that still hasn’t managed to persuade advertisers to part with much in the way of cash is Twitter, where co-founder Jack Dorsey is set to return after fellow co-founder (and CEO) Evan Williams decided to take a step back from day-to-day operations. Dorsey, who had done the same thing himself in 2008, will return to lead product development – and presumably play a part in finding ways to help the company monetise its 200m-odd users.
It’s been a tough few months for the company, which started displaying ‘sponsored tweets’ last year. But analysts have pointed out that because users are still at the ‘experimental’ stage, Twitter isn’t exactly reaping the benefits of repeat custom. Let’s hope Dorsey can help the company cash in on some of this renewed enthusiasm for advertising...