Market roller coaster spooks ad world

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First, debt-ceiling negotiations in Washington, DC went down to the wire. Then Standard & Poor's downgraded the United States' credit rating, prompting a roller-coaster stretch for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. In response, marketers pondered if the economy was entering the second valley of a double-dip recession, or whether the market volatility was just another bump in a slow recovery. 

Ryan Nakashima, 
Associated Press

Not all ad spending was 
created equal. Money tends to flow to TV and its reliably large audiences, especially when ad budgets are tight. Broadcast TV has given ground to the more targeted audiences that flock to pay TV. Radio, newspaper and magazine ads have steadily fallen, while Internet spending, with its measurable clicks and sales, is on the rise. Still, even dominant players such as Disney, which owns pay TV channel leader ESPN, have seen slippage. Next year, advertising experts expect the Olympics to boost spending.

David Kaplan,

The painful jolt of the past nine trading sessions would appear to suggest that even the relatively anemic global ad spending projections — and the rosy online forecasts, such as eMarketer's recent call for a 20.2% gain this year — appear a little too sanguine. But with economic signs having been so lousy all year long, maybe it's the stock market that's catching up to the reality that advertisers and agencies already absorbed. It's possible that even in the face of a worsening economy, online advertising will not experience much of a reversal. 

Brian Stelter and 
Tanzina Vega, 
The New York Times

Despite worries of a possible double-dip recession, so far companies are not pulling back from their TV ad spending plans, demonstrating the resiliency of the medium even when faced with the threat of the Internet to steal viewers. TV networks are coming off a robust 
upfront advertising period. 

Laurie Sullivan, 

WordStream founder and CTO Larry Kim points to what he calls a "disconnect" between his company's sales performance supporting small businesses, and today's stock market crash and doomsday predictions. He said the company continues to sign up new advertising customers in record numbers. "I haven't heard from anyone saying that they're less interested in growing their business in light of the S&P downgrade, and search is still the cost-effective and targeted marketing vehicle it was a month ago," he said. "It's business as usual." 


A double-dip recession, or an extremely slow recovery, will hurt advertisers and marketers just like it will hurt professionals in nearly every other industry. However, it's worth noting that tough economic times, which will require marketers to account for every dollar they spend, could shift some expenditures to measured media as executives demand a better return on their investment. Direct marketers will be able to deliver that better than their counterparts in traditional advertising because of their ability to prove ROI, track customer interaction, and sign up consumers for future promotions. 

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