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Internet advt spend will overtake TV advt spend: Kannan

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MUMBAI: The first session of the Internet and Online Association conclave, which was held in Mumbai yesterday was titled - 'Knock Knock, Who's there? - Actionable eMarketing' was helmed by DoubleClick international product director Ramesh Kannan. The constant worry marketers have is that they feel half of their marketing money is wasted but they can't figure out which half? Kannan said that the basic understanding of the impact of online advertising was a must for any marketer since consumer habits had changed radically in the last 10 years or so.

This change has been in the form of the way we learn, communicate and shop. Internet advertising, which is a five year old phenomenon, has taken over radio advertising which is almost 50 years old. Kannan, very optimistically said that very soon the $5 billion Internet advertising market will overtake the $50 billion television advertising market. He said that while the Internet comprised 20 per cent of our media consumption, the online spending however, was a meager three per cent. Hence there was a huge gap here, which needed to be bridged.

Kannan spelt out the challenges that marketers, publishers and agencies had in front of them as far as advertising on the Internet was concerned. One challenge that they faced was that too much of data was available to the consumers. Hence the task at hand was that they needed to identify and communicate with the right target audience and then streamline their plan of action.

Within portals, different sections have different build rates and reach. For example: On the Yahoo! Site, the Yahoo! Mail has a greater reach that the Yahoo! Health section. Service sections on websites will definitely have a greater reach than the real estate section. Kannan said that an advertiser should focus on the light users rather than the heavy users of Internet since a minority of users account for almost ? of the total page views. Also on a single site, the reach builds much more quickly among heavy users than for light and medium users. Heavy users can be defined as those who spend more than 19 days in a month on the Internet. On the other hand, medium users are those who spend between 11 - 19 days in a month on the Internet and light users spend 11 or less days in a month on the Internet. Kannan said, "Together, medium and light users account for 61.2 per cent of web population but only with only 27 per cent of page views. While most heavy users are online by day three, it takes a full month to reach the light users and hence light users visit portal home pages but the odds of reaching them will be less."

Hence, for advertisers it is important to know which placements are more likely to reach Internet elusive medium or light users. On the other hand, a publisher's site's ability to attract light and medium web users can be a USP. Also notable is the fact that light users can actually be heavy users on specific personality relevant sites.

Moving on to audience dynamics for scheduling of ads, Kannan said that it was noted that the Yahoo! Movies' site had large consumption patterns on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so if one wanted to target the movie goers, then advertising should be accordingly based.

Last but not the least, Kannan emphatically said that the Internet, as a medium allows us to measure performance (ROI) effectively. Hence the advantage of Internet advertising was that it allows one to connect and interact with their target audience and also transact with them. And this medium was a sure shot way of optimally measure ROI.

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