London — May 14, 2009 …. In the current global economic meltdown, Internet advertising, marketing and digital PR have become one of the key, most potent solutions for business to business and business to consumer promotion for 2009.
While the general and financial media continue to drive the self fulfilling prophecy of recession, professional marketing, SEO, Internet advertising and digital PR companies have been working these trends and have become, in effect, recession proof.
“For Internet advertisers and marketing professionals, the essential advantages are stickiness-reader retentiveness and greater return on investment of marketing, advertising and PR budgets,” says Joel Leyden, a pioneer in Internet advertising, marketing, SEO and PR, and Director of Online marketing services for Flat Rock Technology.
Leyden has long been aware of the economic and demographic benefits of Internet advertising and marketing over classical print and broadcast advertising and has been securing a substantial increase in the amount of businesses approaching Flat Rock Technology in London, New York and in Israel for targeted Internet advertising packages.
Leading newspapers and magazines are reporting significant downturns in the annual spend on print advertising and this is set to continue, as businesses look to make more cost-effective use of their advertising, PR and marketing budgets during the recession.
Philip Stafford and Tim Bradshaw of the UK Financial Times revealed that investment in Internet, wireless services and software had the greatest growth in the UK for 2008, taking £279m, up 66 percent since 2007, with software up by 41 percent, to £223m. Investment by venture capitalists in UK, England and Irish technology companies, last year reached the highest level since 2001.
With few financial institutions readily lending money to commercial operations, the UK, England and Ireland have seen a recent increase in venture capitalist and angel investors, choosing to invest in Internet based companies. The decline in market confidence in the traditional London High Street retail sector and the growth in online, digital businesses has encouraged venture capitalists to look at other ways to invest. VC companies and investors from London, New York and Tel Aviv to Paris, Frankfurt and Tokyo are reluctant to allocate funds to companies they have not already committed to and are topping up investments in Internet companies in which they have already invested. VC companies want to avoid making exits in the current economic climate.
Europe’s telecommunications and mobile telephone companies are still investing billions of Euros into the continent’s Internet system, creating and sustaining jobs and allowing more people to have access to what has become the communications channel of choice.
Angel investors, who again have benefited from the current lack of availability to businesses of traditional bank funding, have also looked at Internet companies as a secure option. They stand to benefit from longer term growth since their investment is often greater than VC companies and at the start-up stage of companies’ business activities.
Internet advertising spending is now larger than established print displays, classifieds, and regional newspapers. The recent findings from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), the UK online advertising trade body, carried out in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers, (PwC) and the World Advertising Research Centre (WARC), revealed a continued healthy growth, despite the recession, as Internet advertising looks set to overtake spending on TV advertising by the end of 2009.
Retail brands are now using Internet advertising and search more intelligently, focussing on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to gain maximum exposure for their business on the Internet. Search Engine Optimisation is the process used to ensure the companies’ Website is designed to entice the search engines, and can easily be found by searching using targeted key words, most relevant to the desired product or service. This ensures maximum traffic to the Website without having to use expensive Pay Per Click campaigns (PPC) where each click onto the Website costs the company money.
Classic print and broadcast advertising has become an expensive alternative. Advertising in print has a limited life span, whereas advertising on the Internet gains maximum and longer lasting exposure for the advertiser. Access to their product online is constantly available and, used in conjunction with SEO, Internet advertising accurately targets specific consumer groups. Using Internet display advertising, with video and interactive Web content targets a mass reach through networks, vastly increasing interest in the marketers’ Website.
The UK – from London, Manchester and Birmingham is now at an all time high for online activity, according to recent figures from analysts Mintel. Seventy percent of adults and young people over sixteen have access to the Internet, which is an increase from fifty percent five years ago. Internet advertising is predicted to continue to be a high growth area over the next ten years, despite what many are predicting will be a long and deep recession.
The ability to utilise already established online outlets as a way to promote businesses has become highly sophisticated. As with any form of advertising, those using the Internet know their market and are able to monitor response from the Internet with far greater accuracy than traditional print advertising. Using the analytics of the Website to monitor the results of the optimisation ensures complete control over spending on marketing the Website, which is essential for companies now wanting maximum return on limited marketing budgets.
“Despite the recession, there has never been as better time to start an online business. Niche markets and a focused Website can ensure visibility which can far exceed that of a traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ outlet,” says Leyden.
“Online social networking has encouraged service providers and retail businesses to use cost-effective Internet advertising, public relations and Web 2.0 viral marketing to reach huge audiences. By 2013, we can safely predict that an estimated 52% of Internet users will be regular social network visitors.”
“The steady stream of Web 2.0 social networking updates and digital news is now a weekly—or even daily—habit for many online users,” says Leyden. “That stickiness is good news for social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, PalTalk, Twitter, Skype, Google and Yahoo groups.”
“The British pound has slid and Europe markets have fallen sharply. UK unemployment jumped in the first quarter by the most since 1981 as the recession forced companies from carmakers to banks to cut workers. British gross domestic product has shrank by a sharper-than-expected 1.5% quarter-on-quarter in the three months to December, after contracting 0.6% in the quarter before, according to government figures released on Friday. The drop was the biggest in 18 years, officially putting the country into recession. The UK recession has caused the number of visitors to the United Kingdom to fall by 13 percent in the first three months of 2009,” says Flat Rock Technology Managing Director Freddie Jones.
Jones continues: “The Bank of England has said that the UK economy faces a “slow” recovery and inflation will probably stay below its target for the next three years as the England struggles to escape the worst recession since the 1980s.
All of this doom and gloom news is now being greeted with headlines by many UK newspapers encouraging the effective use of Internet marketing. In today’s Financial Times, in there lead story, the FT states that airlines are now being warned to improve the quality of their Websites and to make online tickets cheaper while the organisers of the April 2009 Internet World exhibition at Earls Court are celebrating a 26% increase in visitor numbers. The Internet, without any doubt has become the most central, cost-effective and important market for UK trade.”
The future is bright for the Internet.
Those who use it have immediate 24/7 access to global services, products and information. Those who use the Internet for advertising their business or organizations reach an audience far greater than ever previously possible. The ability of Internet advertising and digital PR companies to provide a lower cost service to companies across the commercial spectrum will ensure their longevity and that of their clients during the current economic crisis.
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