Search Rules Advertising As Media Diversifies

    September 12, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Search and word-of-mouth are by far still the most effective means of advertising and driving website traffic, according to a new survey, but it may not be time to sing the dirge for print just yet.

Search Rules Advertising As Media Diversifies
Search Rules Advertising As Media Diversifies

Deloitte’s 2007 State of the Media Democracy Survey revealed that 84 percent of all consumers visit a website after finding it through a search engine and 82 percent find websites via personal recommendation.

And while technophiles have been echoing Dr. Egon Spengler since at least 1984 that print is dead, almost three quarters (72 percent) of those same consumers surveyed still read magazines, and 23 percent expect to spend more time reading books this year.

Yet, if the Internet is your only source of information, you might be convinced that print publications are shutting down by the dozens and reopening online, fulfilling the prophecy that people just aren’t into paper anymore. But the reality is that people prefer choice in media, and even interpret media differently depending on the format.

Previously, I noted also the Darwinian aspect to print, the expense, the saturation of the market that has occurred over the past few decades, complete with bloated staffing, ballooning costs, high failure rates, and high barriers to entry that might account better for a seeming downward trend. But it’s more of a shift than a terminal disease. People are diversifying.

With ads, for example, the survey found that 76 percent of all consumers thought Internet ads were intrusive. Yet, if delivered via print, 64 percent actually paid more attention to them. That doesn’t mean stop advertising online, as only 28 percent said they’d rather pay for content than see the ads. But it does provide an opportunity to develop a nice cooperation between offline and online campaigns.

Or maybe Google was just fooling around when they started brokering print ad deals.

What’s happening, rather than one medium replacing or outright destroying another, is that consumers are consuming all forms of media as suits their purposes, when it suits their purposes, and from whichever angle. This could be on the train, at the coffee shop, the library, the living room, the kitchen table, their favorite chair, or the computer desk, from a monitor, a DVR, a mobile phone, a TV, a magazine, newspaper, or radio.

And not only are their choices of media and media delivery vehicles diversifying, but their creators of media are as well. Over 50 percent of consumers are watching or reading user-generated content (71 percent if you’re younger than 24), and 40 percent of consumers are creating their own content (56 percent if you’re younger than 24.)

So that means, to me anyway, that we are entering an interesting and revolutionary new world of media with unlimited choices for creation and delivery of ideas. And that has enormous positive possibilities…if we don’t blow each other up first.