Print Advertising Is Moving to the Web —
and That's a Good Thing!

At least, International Data Group's CEO Pat Kenealy thinks it's a good thing. He says B2B publishers have no choice but to look at ways to increase the value of their web advertising, because that's where advertising is going — and they should take their cue from TV, whose advertising model is similar to the web.

According to Kenealy, IDG itself is transfering about 5 percentage points of revenue from print to online every year — and he predicts that by 2008 half the company's revenue will come from the online sector. In the long run, he sees IDG getting the majority of its revenue from the web.

These observations come from a minonline report that's reproduced on IDG's web site.

With online ad rates so low compared to print, of course publishers must look for ways to increase the value of web advertising. One way is to qualify their online audiences just as they do for print. IDG is researching that subject intensively, measuring falloff rates for different levels of registration difficulty on a half-dozen of its sites. It's worth keeping an eye on what the company is doing in this area.

In the minonline article, Kenealy goes on to say that Google and Yahoo are the first place people look before buying — and that includes business people who are buying big-ticket items. So B2B sites are competing with retailers, consultants, and so forth on providing information for purchase decisions, and even the basic business information that B2B publishers traditionally provide. "In America, Google is our biggest competition," the article quotes Kenealy as saying, "more so than either Ziff Davis or CMP Media, in dollars and in importance." Consequently, Kenealy sees the future bringing "a huge struggle to differentiate branded content from non-branded content." If a company can successfully distinguish its brand as superior, it will be the go-to resource and may even be able to charge for at least some of its content.

Refreshingly, Kenealy sees the pressure to distinguish one's content as a "super-cool opportunity." Why? Because, he says in the minonline report "[t]he Internet lets B2B people do what they do better, faster and cheaper and in a more focused way."
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