Marketers Increasingly Realize the Audience is Online

Advertisers may have so far lagged behind consumers with their online migration, but they’ll shrink that gap over the next couple of years, according to a forecast from ZenithOptimedia.

The media-buying firm projects that online advertising spending will overtake radio spending in 2008 — and magazine spending by 2010 — to account for 11.5 percent of total ad spending. So while economic weakness may hold down overall ad spending, online media properties stand poised to benefit as marketers realize that their audience is otherwise engaged.

Chairman and CEO of OgilvyOne Worldwide, Brian Fetherstonhaugh, interviewed by PC World in an article about the tech demands made by younger workers, echoes the belief that marketers lag far behind consumers in moving online:

[Fetherstonhaugh] likened the gap between the needs of older employees and the demands of the new generation of workers to how the marketing arms of many large companies lag behind their customers. While many consumers are spending as much as 25% of their time online, many companies today are only allotting 8% of their advertising budgets to Web endeavors, he noted.

Spending on television will still take first place for ad spend in 2010, though, according to Zenith’s predictions, with spending on newspaper ads coming in second. But as television watching declines, perhaps it won’t be many more years before marketers prioritize online advertising over that, too.