Posted by: Shalabh | October 11, 2008

Recession? Digital Media World says- “No sweat”

Recession just a hype for digital media

Recession just a hype for digital media

The dark clouds of economic uncertainity are now approaching Asia- reminds me of this Credence Clearwater Revival classic:

I see the bad moon rising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin.
I see bad times today.

Dont go around tonight,
Well, its bound to take your life,
There’s a bad moon on the rise.

That’s the general sentiment- with most Asian economies. Japan took a dip and most developed Asian economies are now talking about an imminent recession. There has been carnage on stock markets and pessimistic forecasts are abound.

It’s strange- as I heard someone saying “…when the US sneezes everyone else catches cold”

Singapore,  Southeast Asia’s richest country, is believed to be slipping into recession, and almost everywhere there seems to be a “recruitment freeze”.

However- here is the silver lining- The digital marketing and media world is more resilient, and as a matter of fact, in these times, this seems to be one panacea for agencies and brands alike.

Mediapost mentions a healthy growth in the first half of 2008 in the US- Search advertising seems to be the hotbed- what with most advertisers realising that online is the medium to deliver measurable and effective refturns on marketing investment. Remember this is inpite of the fact the financial category ad spend has taken a dip this year.

Verbatim:And while spending on other media formats is flat or declining compared to a year ago, Nielsen estimates that online ad dollars overall increased 13% in the first half of 2008. Enjoying the biggest increases in ad spending are kids and family-oriented sites as well as comparison shopping sites, at close to 30% gains.

Another news by the Hollywood reporter headlined “Online ads defy slowing global economy” says-

Despite the damage inflicted by the financial crisis, turnover with advertisement banners, sponsored links and other online advertising format will grow.


US- 13% to $18.6 billion still by far the largest market in the world

Europe: Developing fast and is forecast to grow 31% in 2008 to $12.4 billion.

Japan: Will surge 15% to $4.5 billion, while China will leap forward 46% to $1.6 billion

Jason blogs on “5 reasons why digital marketing will thrive in recession”

So what’s the big deal then? Why the hullabaloo about recession? Neither the forecasts nor the past 6 months show any signs of worry for the digital marketing/online advertising world.

This the time for brands to embrace a mature digital marketing space and be one up on the competitors. Now is the time for them to set up specialist units focused on digital marketing. Now is the time for agencies to recruit the best talent there is and demonstrate efficiency for their clients and competitors alike.

Agencies specially more so- many have been viewed as opportunistic digital media embracers- jumped on the boat in 2000s and abandoned at the first sight of decline..and then coming back to position themselves as forward thinking digital media embracers starting 2005. And then again, at the first sign of a financial crisis, they freeze!

In a panel discussion that I was invited to a few months ago, I asked a question to the panel- comprising of agency and brand side representatives: “What if your media/marketing budget reduces to half? Where will you continue to spend?” The unanimous answers from client side was “Digital/Online marketing”- not only continue to spend, but they would probably allocate more spends to online and make their online marketing initiatives more effective.

Do you see a similar trend happening elsewhere? Have your clients reduced their budgets? Has your agency been proactive enough in attracting and retaining digital talent? Anxious to hear your comments.



  1. […] article by Netimperetive outlines pretty much what I’ve said already. There’s also this excellent post by Shalabh Pandey about digital media not being phased by the recession. He’s come to the same conclusion as I, and his post benefits from some good […]

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