February 26, 2009, 12:00 AM

Marketers will spend online in 2009 and they`ll track results, study says

Online advertising will be spread among different venues to squeeze more out of marketing dollars, according to a new report from Forrester Research Inc. E-retailers are still looking for a way to clearly tie online ads to returns on investments.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Online advertising will be spread among different venues to squeeze more out of marketing dollars, according to a new report from Forrester Research Inc. E-retailers also are still looking for a way to clearly tie online ads to return on investments.

For example, Forrester’s “2009 North American Interactive Marketing Predictions” report says most North American online marketers will be taking a harder look at what they spend on online display ads because it’s difficult to link such branding ads to sales. As a result, many will look to new tools that optimize ad spending based on past performance as it relates to specific business goals like sales, according to Forrester. Additionally, the report predicts marketers will spend more of their online budget on niche content sites -- such as a site for fishing enthusiasts, for example -- instead of the pricier large portals such as Yahoo or AOL.

While search will continue to dominate online ad spending because it is the most measurable method, the rising cost of keywords remains a concern among marketers. That’s good news for analytics vendors offering tools to track campaign results and optimize ad spending, according to Forrester. Keyword costs also will help drive greater interest this year in specialized search engines that attract consumers marketers want to reach, such as those looking to buy. Such engines include Shopzilla and BizRate.

Forrester predicts that marketers also will be taking a hard look at their spending on social networks and other social applications this year. They’ll use more tools from firms such as such as BuzzLogic Inc. and BrandIntel to measure the impact of social applications.

“As digital efforts gain prominence, bringing in their wake an increased use of optimization and analytics tools – marketing as a discipline will gain quantitative rigor,” the report says.

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