Online Publishers Doing Well In Slow Economy

    May 19, 2008

Even with a sluggish economy online publishers are doing well and those with solid brands and quality content are poised to succeed according to the president of the Online Publishers Association.

Web sites have an advantage over traditional media by allowing advertisers to target consumers in an affordable and very focused way, the association’s president, Pam Horan told Reuters at the OPA’s "Forum for the Future" in London.

Pam Horan - President of OPA

"This ability to highly-target the right consumers, and do it in a way that is very efficient, means that online publishers should continue to see significant advertising growth even during this difficult economic period," Horan said.

The estimated growth rate for online advertising spending in the U.S. this year is a healthy 23 percent, a two percent decrease from last year, according to figures from eMarketer.

Horan says both global media brands and local online publishers should be able to be successful and those with the best brands and content will attract the most advertisers. With the worldwide economy, readers out side the U.S. are becoming more important to publishers. Advertising segments, including travel and financial news are in a good position to earn revenue from foreign visitors.

Social media, video, and the mobile Web are seen as primary growth areas for advertising dollars. Horan said publishers and advertisers are still figuring out the best way to generate revenue from social networks.

"We see great examples of how it can be leveraged for brand building and traffic but as a revenue stream it still remains to be seen," said Horan.

Horan warned that time spent on a site had to be put in perspective. Community activities make up just 7 percent of the time U.S. consumers spend online every month, according to the OPA’s Internet Activity Index.

In comparison more than 40 percent of their time spent is with content, making it the most valuable category of online activity for advertisers.