Hoping it doesn’t burst just yet?
Cross-posted from my blog at Brand Republic (log-in required):
“Publicis sees internet bubble” heralds the FT yesterday, in an account of a speech by Maurice Lévy, the marketing behemoth’s chairman and chief executive. On our own Brand Republic, “boom and bust” was invoked in the story’s headline.
Now I’m of the opinion that advertising’s not the whole answer for social media start-ups, and social networks aren’t the whole answer for the advertising industry, but invoking bubble imagery – very potent in the web media world – is slightly over-blowing things.
I also don’t agree with Mr Levy’s assertion that 2007 is “exactly the same situation as we saw at the end of the 1990s, when everyone thought… he’d get the advertising.”
2007 is very different indeed. Many internet businesses are making real money from models other than advertising and in fact valuations are being inflated by battles between web giants, not stampedes of ill-advised private investors and careless venture capitalists.
We’re experiencing a period of – even by the standards of the past two years – frenetic innovation and creative thinking about how advertising works online.
Facebook’s raft of new services for marketers, the sheer potential of the Google-led OpenSocial standard, and the prospect of the mobile internet opening up at last (sue to Apple and Google‘s opening up of possibilities and ambitions for innovation) mean that online advertising models are evolving fast – and necessarily so. And evolution is a much better model to think about that the linear connotations of boom and bust, if you want to be planning a winning approach in the medium term for your brand, agency or clients.
Thing about evolution is just because something is changing doesn’t mean all change is positive, nor that all the new exciting creatures in the ecosystem are going to end up winners.
By the way, if you want a good insight into how to plan a business (including advertising) strategy in a complex, fast moving, adaptive environment, I recommend reading The Origin of Wealth by Eric Beinhocker, a senior McKinsey thinker.
In 2007 there may be a lot of hot air, but the bubble metaphor may be a kind of hype all of its own. The best advice for marketers and brand owners is to develop a big-picture view of how the advertising world is changing and place (probably multiple) bets accordingly.
Bonus links: The bubble concern may be a red herring – there are other reasons for marketers to be cautious in assessing the potential of Facebook’s advertising innovations (experiments?). Here are a couple of good analyses to chew over: