New Media Monetization Series, Part I: Web Advertising

Online advertising spend continues to increase, but the process remains fraught with doubt. This year, NBC paid $894M for the programming rights to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This "most ambitious single media project in history" will deliver 3,600 hours of coverage over TV, Internet, cell phones, and video-on-demand platforms. NBC will try to understand how people consume cross platform content—and how to make online advertising pay for their investment. Will they succeed? Time will tell.

The novelty of Web ads appears to be wearing off. At some Web destination sites, click-through rates are declining, and there is a growing need to cut through online noise and message clutter.

For any network or brand to compete these days, effective Web advertising requires capturing customers with compelling user experiences to efficiently monetize the interaction. Using media on the Web to create interactive environments, for example, can deliver winning results.

"It's all about productive engagement," says Marian Sabety, CEO of online marketer Wyndstorm. Sabety believes a carefully crafted site featuring videos, gaming opportunities, customer testimonials, and avatars delivers significant conversion growth. One such recent launch of theirs has begun to show a 50% to 100% increase in click-throughs.

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