We take a lot of pride in our projections, which have been on target year after year. But we may have been far too conservative earlier this year when we projected that local online advertising would grow 8% in 2009. At the end of the first quarter, the increase looked closer to 11%. When we finish collecting our second-quarter data in the next few weeks, I’m certain the number will be quite a bit higher.
We initially saw three things happening in 2009: 1) lots of small businesses would collapse or severely curtail ALL ad spending; 2) local online advertising simply HAD to slow down after 10 years of double-digit growth; 3) and high advertiser churn-out rates for search, banners and video would begin taking a toll. While all of those are still correct to some degree, #2 is apparently less true than all the others.
Phenomenal as it may seem, we’re getting data indicating triple-digit growth for some companies selling interactive advertising. These are definitely the “get it” companies that have hired dedicated sales forces and are plowing ahead with the products advertisers are buying. We aren’t, however, seeing triple-digit growth from companies that continue to labor under the delusion that “convergence sales” is a viable strategy.
Right now we’re pegging local online advertising at $14.03 billion, up from our estimate of $13.3 billion issued back in January. As I said, this full-year estimate is likely to inch even higher when we get our midyear data.
Stay tuned to this blog. Over the next few weeks we’ll highlight a few examples of where that triple-digit growth is coming from, and how they’re doing it.