The Internet Today

Advertising on the internet is growing exponentially. In it’s ninth consecutive quarter of growth the IAB(Internet Advertising Bureau) announced that total advertising expenditures in the second quarter of 1998 reached $423 million. This was a 97 percent increase over the second quarter of 1997. Despite this large increase in expenditures, very few companies have been able to reap the benifits of online advertising.

This is because the internet is a new type of media which is not yet fully understood or comprehended. In the past with mediums like television or radio, users were passively receiving advertising information. This meant that they had very little choice in what they saw or heard. They were at the mercy of the broadcasting station as to what information they received.

However, in the case of the internet, the user is actively searching for information, which means that they decide what they see and hear. This poses a number of problems as well as opportunities for advertisers. They are forced to find new and creative ways to attract users to the site, but it also means that they can be very diverse and pin-point a very specific demographic.

Current advertisments on the internet do very little to spark the curiousity of potential customers. Compared to other media like T.V., film or CD, the internet does not have the bandwidth to create full featured multi-media presentations(as of yet). Presently most internet advertisement consist only of static images or banners.(IAB 1998 statistics indicate that of the advertisements on the web, 58 percent are banner, 37 percent sponsorship, 3 percent interstitials and 2 percent other.)

This is because the internet in many ways is still in its infant stages. Internet technology is still lacking in many ways, but this is only part of the problem. Ad Designers are for the most part being very conservative in their creations and are not using many of the tools at their disposal. This is to be expected with any new type of media. When the radio way first invented , stories and ads were read off in much the same way as they would be written in the newspaper.

As internet technology evolves and Ad Designers get more time and lattitude for experimentation these probelms will be minimized. Web ads in the near future will be more entertaining, informative and innovative.