The internet has ten times the influence of traditional print media on the average consumer, according to a recent study of 5,000 people by the global PR agency Fleishman-Hillard. According to the survey, the internet has double the influence of television, which ranked second, ahead of newspapers and magazines.
Fleishman-Hillard’s study went on to reveal that companies are still ‘grossly under-investing’ in the web, with online advertising spend comprising only some eight per cent of the total advertising market in 2007.
One conclusion drawn from this study is that PR is having an increasing influence online, as advertising fails to adapt to web 2.0. According to Xavier Adam, managing director of marketing communications agency AMC Network: “The advertising model developed over the past 50 years, so it is dating at an ever-increasing rate. PR is more nimble. It can be used as a marketing campaign tester, as smaller tests are possible at a lower cost.”
Comment: I suppose you’d expect me to say it but I agree with the study’s findings and Xavier Adam’s conclusions. Sadly – because I like newspapers and magazines – the (physical) press is on the wane, while websites, ezines, blogs and so on are growing in stature and influence.
The important thing to remember about all this, though, is that just because anyone can put something on a website, it doesn’t mean that it will have the effect that its author intended. There is still a need for professional writers/journalists – even if the medium through which they work is now online.