Thursday, January 15, 2009

We're Finally Getting There

The landscape for digital marketing in the Philippines have changed significantly in the past couple of years. I remember back in 2001 less than 5% of companies who would join exhibits would have email addresses much less websites. My Mom's export company back in 1999 stood out even though we were a newbie because we had a website (a home-made one by me!). 

It's been ten years since I started working on digital advertising stuff and I must admit it's been really slow to catch on in the Philippines. Really slow. I started off with online directories and the challenge back then was getting business to get their information online, must less have them showcase their products/services. After that phase was done (took a few years to get businesses comfortable) the next task was to convince companies to advertise online.

And I dare say we are going over that we're finally getting over that mountain.

But the next task is educating how. It's the most difficult phase I believe and a lot of organizations and people have been doing just that the past couple of years. What helped a lot in this process I believe are social networking sites and blogs and the Social Media Usage study of Universal Mccann clearly shows that a lot of active Filipino internet users spend a lot of time on these services. I've been seeing a lot of local ads on Facebook the past few months and more and more companies have been tapping bloggers because they want to be talked about online. It's just a matter of time.

Reports show that bulk of the online marketing spend goes to display ads (i.e. banner ads), I think this is because there is still a lack of better understanding of search. I believe this year that's where things will head to since: (1) advertisers will be looking for better ROI; (2) there will be better understanding that search isn't about demographics but direct needs; (3) there is more than enough available content online where advertisers can become relevant links for their target market; and (4) the continued growth of Filipino internet users. 

After all, what company wouldn't want to have returns at minimal investment?

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