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IQ News: Online Ads Still 'Experimental'

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Has online advertising finally gained acceptance by the ad community? Not really, according to a survey conducted in December by DecisionTree, an online research firm spun off by Poppe Tyson Advertising last month.
Survey respondents (primarily agency executives, along with clients and marketing consultants) generally reported modest spending and overall skittishness toward Internet marketing. A majority (55 percent) said media spending online represented less than 5 percent of their overall buy in 1997; these same respondents predict the growth rate for online budgets to hover somewhere around the 5-7 percent level.
Publishers may be most interested to learn that 51 percent of the survey respondents reported that online spending comes from general marketing budgets. Some 35 percent said a "newly created pool" generates ad dollars for interactive media.
"Interactive is in a state of transition," summed up Nick Nyhan, managing director of DecisionTree, "but at the same time, it hasn't escaped the 'experimental' label."
Underscoring all of the responses, Nyhan pointed out, was a general feeling that online was "worth less because it costs less" and that impact on sales was more important to marketers than vague branding benefits. "Interactive's got to deliver at the cash register." he said. "It can't just be marketing."
Survey participants were recruited through banners on the DoubleClick and Adweek Web sites over a two-week period in December. DecisionTree (www.decisiontree.com) hopes to conduct similar industrywide studies quarterly. --LR