• July 18, 2007
  • By Coreen Bailor, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

European Online Marketing: A Continental Divide

Europe's outlay for online marketing is poised to double in the next five years, from about 7.5 billion euros ($10.4 billion) in 2006 to more than 16 billion euros ($22.1 billion) in 2012, according to a new report by Forrester Research. Online marketing, which according to Forrester comprises email, search, and display advertising, is projected to account for nearly one-fifth--18 percent--of the region's entire media budget by the end of the forecast period. The report, "European Online Marketing Tops 16 Billion [Euros] In 2012," is based on findings from Forrester's Consumer Technographics survey of more than 25,000 consumers in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, and interviews with 24 European marketers. Rebecca Jennings, a senior analyst at Forrester Research and author of the report, attributes the projected growth to the substantial amount of time consumers spend online and increasing acceptance by advertisers of the importance of the Web. From a supply point of view, Jennings says, the increased ease of actually engaging in online marketing has helped, as well. "You can launch a search campaign online in minutes, for example, and the acquisitions by Microsoft [of aQuantive], Google [of DoubleClick], and Yahoo! [of Right Media] are all designed to make it easier for advertisers to integrate online elements into campaigns," Jennings says. If the report's findings are any guide, the very nature of Eurpoean media may be on the verge of a major shift. Thirty-six percent of online Europeans admit they're spending less time in front of the telly because they're Web-surfing instead. Interestingly enough, while 67 percent of online consumers said that advertisers lie in ads, 34 percent noted they don't mind ads if they relate to their interests. Additional results indicate that 40 percent trust price-comparison sites and 36 percent trust online product reviews from other users, reflecting opportunities for marketers to boost word-of-mouth gusto, email campaigns, and blog advertising. Online display advertising, which includes features like banners, buttons, and pop-ups, is a mainstream component of Internet marketing, with almost all of the marketers surveyed revealing that they use banner ads. In fact, Forrester expects display-advertising spending will flourish from 2.5 billion euros ($3.5 billion) last year to 5.6 billion euros ($7.7 billion) in five years. The report suggests the rise will come primarily due to Internet advertisers' increasing interest in new formats like rich media in order to capitalize on the growing prevalence of home broadband access. And, Jennings adds, "as most European countries accelerate their broadband adoption of the Internet and bring all the countries' online spend up," European marketers, who had significantly trailed their U.S. counterparts in online spend, are rapidly closing that gap. Even as overall marketing spending in Europe grows again in 2007, it's important to note that it comes on the heels of several sluggish years. There was some fear about how traditional markets--TV, print--would fare against online, and advertisers, despite the worsening of traditional results, perhaps weren't brave enough to transfer spend online, according to Jennings. "Now they are," she says. "Online marketing spend has seen significant double-digit growth for the past few years, to be honest, but it's been growing from a small base. It's not that hard to get 25, 30 percent growth a year on small numbers." As the market for online advertising continues to evolve, Jennings has her eye on how social-media outlets will impact the industry: "It will be interesting to see over the next few years what different types of advertising we see--video ads in YouTube, for example? How will marketers use networks like MySpace and Facebook effectively? I think we will see a lot of change in the market, as well as growth." Related articles: The Top Online Makeover Target
Some organizations grapple with attaching bottom-line value to their revamped Web sites, but crafting ROI models can help. Demographic Marketing Goes Web 2.0 Understanding the individuality of how consumers approach social networking is crucial for marketers trying to take the Web 2.0 plunge. Attack of the European Blog! Marketers across the pond should get to know bloggers' unique e-commerce habits to tailor Web sites to meet these consumers' needs.
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