Digital marketing poised for explosion of growth (Today’s Zaman)


01 November 2009, Sunday / Today’s Zaman / ZEYNEP KALKAVAN İSTANBUL

The share of digital marketing in the overall marketing mix has been steadily increasing, as a significant shift from traditional media to digital is taking place throughout the world. Pundits agree that the ever-growing importance of digital marketing will continue to persist in coming years, too.

     Even though spending on digital marketing remains well below spending on traditional marketing, the use of digital advertising tools has been on the rise for the past few years in line with technological developments. With roughly 27 million Internet users and a large number of mobile phone users, Turkey has a promising digital marketing scene.

Even though spending on digital marketing remains well below spending on traditional marketing, the use of digital advertising tools has been on the rise for the past few years in line with technological developments. With roughly 27 million Internet users and a large number of mobile phone users, Turkey has a promising digital marketing scene.

 

“Digital marketing in Turkey has been growing by double-digit numbers each year, there were times it even reached triple digits,” Aygen Tezcan, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Turkey coordinator, said in an interview with Sunday’s Zaman. “In a period of four to five years, the field will grow further with Generation Y, the generation which grew up with the Internet, coming to power.”

According to Tezcan, the format, not the advertising means, is changing. In the near future the concept of “digital advertising” will be of no use, she remarked. “A convergence is taking place throughout the world. The world’s main mediums [television, radio and newspapers] have become accessible through the Internet. So the marketing format will change in line with this convergence.”

Internet marketing, the largest component of the digital marketing — which covers promotion through the Internet, mobiles and other interactive channels — currently accounted for 7.1 percent of overall marketing in Turkey as of August 2009, according to the latest figures compiled by the Turkish Association of Advertising Agencies (RD), while the share of television marketing is 47.5 percent.

“The share of spending on digital marketing in Turkey is not much different from the world average, except countries like the UK, where it has a roughly 20 percent share, and the US,” Tezcan noted. According to a report from IDC, a global market intelligence provider, the share of online marketing in overall marketing throughout the world will reach 13.6 percent by 2011 as Internet ad spending grows to $106.6 billion worldwide. The share of digital marketing in Turkey’s overall marketing is expected to reach 10 percent within a few years, according to the RD’s forecasts.

Key strengths of digital marketing

Günseli Özen Ocakoğlu, executive editor of Marketing Türkiye magazine, said that more marketers were choosing digital marketing strategies because of its measurability, better access to target groups and affordable prices.

She also stressed the flexibility digital instruments extend, enabling the use of appealing campaigns through various tools such as advergaming, the practice of using video games to advertise. Mobile marketing is also on the verge of great developments, Ocakoğlu said, adding that mobile marketing instruments can be used to appeal to customers in various ways.

In regards to digital marketing’s small share in firms’ overall marketing budgets despite all the advantages of the medium, Ocakoğlu pointed to the inefficient use of Internet. “The population using the Internet still remains low, which does not attract firms,” she said, stressing, however that the rise of digital marketing cannot be restrained.

Growing despite the crisis

While the amount of money spent on marketing decreased with the global financial crisis, digital marketing continued its growth. According to the RD data, the amount of money spent on marketing decreased by 23 percent in the first eight months of this year compared to same period of last year due to the global financial crisis. Money spent on Internet marketing, however, increased by 5.5 percent in this period, contrary to spending on conventional marketing tools like television, magazine and newspaper advertisements, all of which declined by 26 percent, 37.5 percent and 25.3 percent, respectively.

Adinteractive, one of the leading agencies in the interactive marketing sector, was founded in 1996, just one year after the introduction of the Internet to Turkey, and is one of those companies that have continued to grow despite the economic downturn. The company posted an 85 percent growth rate in the first quarter of the year.

“The companies still continuing to invest in marketing after the crisis have adopted a more efficient strategy to reach their target groups. In this regard they’re gravitating towards more efficient and more affordable marketing means. Firms investing in such types of marketing influenced the adverse impact of the crisis and have also enjoyed a competitive advantage in the market. So, digital marketing and interactive projects have emerged as the most preferred advertising strategies, with the highest returns in a very short time,” Köksal Abdurrahmanoğlu, the founding chairman of the agency, said.

According to Abdurrahmanoğlu, firms are shifting dramatically from conventional marketing agencies to digital marketing in a bid to acquire more creative and influential advertisements. “Companies can now get closer than ever before to their customers through digital marketing instruments. Digital marketing is a boon for establishing strong and persistent relations between the firm and customers.”

Search engine marketing was ranked first on the list of most-used digital marketing tools, with a 44 percent share in overall digital marketing in 2008, followed by display marketing, with a 33 percent share, according to a report released in March 2009 by the IAB. The report also states that online advertising grew 10.8 percent in 2008, while conventional advertising declined 2.6 percent. On aggregate, advertising is expected to decline by more than 10 percent this year, according to eMarketer. Online advertising, however, is expected to grow by approximately 9 percent in the same time period.

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