Internet ads account for just 2-3pc of total Irish ad spend

12 Jun 2008

The newly reformed Irish branch of the Interactive Advertising Bureau is on a search and display mission to get the lowdown on online ad spend in Ireland.

After petering out during the last dotcom bust, as well as struggling to get accurate figures on online ad spend in 2003, the Irish branch of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has re-emerged and has already received the support of 60 media bodies and ad agencies in Ireland.

The dotcom fallout that began in the US in 2001 really only began to gather pace in Ireland in 2002, and by 2003, the Irish branch of the IAB had collapsed.

The IAB’s Irish branch was set up in 1999 by Simon Ferguson of Sales Online and publisher Damian Ryan. However, the organisation struggled to get a clear picture of online ad spend as not all media suppliers would submit their data.

According to Ferguson, this time round there’s a greater appreciation of the importance of online advertising and of gaining a clear picture of ad spend, and brand value in the Irish marketplace now has wider appeal.

Compared with the UK where online advertising currently accounts for 15pc of total ad spend, according to the IAB, it is estimated that online ad spend in Ireland accounts for only 2-3pc of the total spend.

“We currently measure display advertising through the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI), as well as media suppliers, but it is very hard to get all media suppliers to submit their data.

“Our mission now is to continue to work in conjunction with IAPI to establish total spend across the entire advertising industry, in particular search and display advertising.

“We are looking for media owners, advertising agencies, research companies and marketing agencies to join in establishing a complete picture.”

Ferguson says the core objectives of the reborn IAB for Ireland are to raise awareness among business people in general about the importance of online marketing and of having a strategy.

In doing so, it is hoped the online sector will increase its share of the Irish media pie.

“A recent study by Microsoft showed that in terms of engagement, the average consumer spends 0.8 hours a week reading a newspaper but 2.7 hours a week online. Yet over 60pc of total ad spend in this economy goes on newsprint.

“To ensure growth we will endeavour to drive standards in the industry through operating professionally and focusing on education and research. This will include brand-impact studies. We reckon there’s too much emphasis on click rates, which is a small element in terms of the overall value of online marketing,” Ferguson says, adding that the activities of the IAB will include lobbying work.

A briefing organised by the IAB in Dublin last week saw over 70 people attending from 60 media organisations.

The Irish IAB has also established an interim board comprising: Simon Ferguson of Sales Online; Sean McCrave, chief executive of IAPI; Rob Price, managing director of Diffinity; Aaron Binchy from Eircom; Jenny Taffe of; Aileen O’Toole, Amas; Fiona Field, MediaWorks; John Dunne, Captivate; Rory McNally, Bluecube Interactive; Tony Sutton, Golden Pages; and Liam English from BlueMetrix.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years