In a recent survey conducted by the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, nearly half of local businesses say their preferred advertising channel is online.
At 46%, online advertising far outpaced radio and print. This displays a dramatic shift in the advertising focus away from the more traditional avenues in Waterloo Region. It shows that, while online advertising is still a developing field, there rests a major appetite towards reaching a broad audience in new ways.
This survey was created after the much-hyped Facebook IPO that brought riches upon the social networking giant, but also created a great deal of speculation on the sustainability of its revenue streams (i.e. online advertising hosting). As is clear, there remains a desire in the business community to continue to utilize online advertising in all of its forms
Furthermore, with those supporting email advertising combined with online advertising this forms a strong majority of 61% for survey takers preferred methods of advertising. This shows a distinct shift away from traditional advertising vehicles such as radio, print, and television for small to medium sized businesses.
Part of the reason for this shift is not just the explosion in social media driven advertising and the strong legitimacy of online advertising, but also the fact that advertisers now have the ability to find real analytics behind the success of an online ad campaign much easier than a print campaign. Due to this limitation, the understanding that circulation numbers and moderate demographic information don’t necessarily translate into viewed impressions have led to a more success measureable model.
Traditional advertising outlets are not being forsaken just yet, however. Business consultant Jeff MacIntyre from So There Business Solutions says, “I find with my clients, the choice of advertising channels still depends on their market and the connection they are trying to make to their target audience. In many ways people still have an emotional connection to certain advertising mediums such as print and flyers.
“This being said there is an enormous desire to be able to track success of a campaign and web based advertising metrics helps satisfy this need where no other avenue can. As traditions shift so will key advertising channels. And right now that shift is towards online advertising.”
With the movement towards mobile phones being the primary source for accessing online content this means if online behemoths like Facebook are having difficulty translating effective advertising options for businesses they could eventually lead to a weakening demand similar to the weakening of Groupon sales after its inability to adapt to their market after their initial domination.
The one thing that that can be deduced from the survey results is that while online advertising tops the list by a fairly strong amount, it is not the only preferred method of pulling in business.