SES: 2007 budgets for video, mobile, social networking campaigns up

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NEW YORK - Emerging media like mobile, video and social networks are getting more budgetary allocations this year, according to top media buyers in an Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo session yesterday called "Where are you spending your clients' money?"

As agencies are faced with the challenge of how to allocate spending for these emerging channels and the more basic channels, it is important to look at the product or service that the firm offers and link that to where consumers are.

"Advertising media investment choices are driven by consumer and business priorities," said David Rittenhouse, group planning director at neo@Ogilvy, New York. "It's about targeting to your audience where they are, and the confusing part of that is that consumer media usage is in flux and ever changing. Key opportunities we're seeing [are] in channels like online video, microsites, podcasting and mobile."

Tessa Wegert, digital strategist at interactive agency Enlighten, Ann Arbor, MI, agreed that video is a market that is about to grow for online spending.

"One-third of the population watched online video last year and the expected ad spend for 2007 is $775 million," she said. "There is no shortage of potential in the online video space."

Ms. Wegert spoke of the potential of creating serial content for ads placed in free online television shows and movies that run in three or four slots during the program.

Robin H. Neifield, CEO of NetPlus Marketing Inc., disagreed with the influence of online video, stressing the importance in testing for all campaigns. She hasn't seen many proven results when it comes to conversion and online video campaigns.

However, Ms. Neifield did stress the emerging channel of mobile as offering great potential for direct marketing.

"Penetration is huge," she said. "Seventy-two percent of us have mobile phones and ad spending has a huge opportunity to reach this audience. But it is important to send the right message and focus on peer-to-peer communication and not to overdo it."

Despite the lure of emerging channels, all the panelists agreed that integration across channels, including the basics such as e-mail, search, banner and affiliate marketing is the key to creating a budget for an online marketing campaign.

"Opportunity to widen your audience online and boost interactivity is endless, because consumers are looking for campaigns online," Ms. Neifield said. "It is just about integrating channels. If you don't get them with a display ad, you may get them with paid search."

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