Increase in Web Advertising Has Implications for Ad Agency PR

It was bound to happen: Web advertising revenue in the U.S.has surpassed that of newspaper advertising revenue.

An April 14 article in The Wall Street Journal cites a PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP report for the Interactive Advertising Bureau that shows a rebound for Web advertising after a modest decline in 2009.

The IAB estimates that Internet-ad revenue in 2010, which rose 15% to $26 billion, surpassed that of newspapers, which amounted to $22.8 billion, as well as $22.5 billion from cable TV networks, $17.6 billion from broadcast TV networks and $15.3 billion from radio.

Given the growth of the Web and the decline in newspaper readership, this changing of the guard was inevitable. Still, it is amazing to think about the relative speed with which all this has happened.

The prominence of the Internet as an advertising vehicle also has implications for ad agency PR. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., as well as free and paid Internet news release distribution services, are important ways to get news out to key audiences beyond traditional print and broadcast outlets.

While social media plays a vital role in generating awareness for public relations initiatives, some are still not up to speed on its potential.

Commenting on the gap that exists between the percentage of time consumers spend using digital media and the percentage of spending that marketers allocate to the Web, John Suhler, founding partner with private equity and media forecasting firm Verohnis Suhler Stevenson, noted: “Dollars always follow eyeballs.”

More and more, eyeballs are turning to the Internet for news and information, and that trend likely will continue growing in the years to come.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.

Ad Agencies: Is Traditional Media on the Way Out as a PR Tool?

A major shift is underway in the public relations/public affairs world when it comes to the use of social media, according to a new survey by PR/PA agency mergers & acquisitions consultants StevensGouldPincus.

In a news release the consulting group said that the use of social media for public relations/public affairs purposes by U.S. communications consulting firms has increased 12-15% this past year.

While the percentage of work currently devoted to social media by these firms is 30% overall, that percentage will increase to an average of 42% new year.  For firms with revenue in excess of $3 million, the increase will be even higher, at 46%.

“If this trend persists, within the next two years social media will replace traditional media as PR/PA’s primary tool for reaching client audiences with news and information,” said SGP Managing Partner Art Stevens.

“When you consider that traditional media have been the bedrock of professional PR/PA practice for more than 100 years, the implications are profound.”

Media relations has the highest use of social media, averaging 36%, followed by product marketing (25%) and issues advocacy (20%).

While the amount of time devoted to social media varies each month, Facebook gets the most attention (31%), followed by Twitter (29%), LinkedIn (18%), MySpace (17%) and YouTube (14%).

The survey indicated the most important issue to public relations and public affairs firms is the ability to track and measure results, and quantify value.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.

Ad Agencies: Don’t Underestimate Your Competition

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Nick Brien, CEO of McCann Worldgroup, said that the ad agency giant’s biggest competition is media companies like Meredith Corp.

 It turns out that Meredith, which does direct marketing and social media for Chrysler, beat out McCann for part of the auto maker’s business.

 “If you don’t recognize who you competition is, you will underestimate them,” Brien told The Journal.

 And in times as intensively competitive as these, you really don’t want to do that.

 Ad agencies aren’t the only ones feeling the heat.  Now PR firms either are – or should be – looking increasing their expertise in social media.

Earlier this month the Dallas Business Journal ran a story by Web Reporter Kerri Panchuk about how the PR landscape has been changed by social media advertising/marketing, and how local PR agencies are responding.

  •  “In our business-to-consumer group, social media is getting to be at least 25 percent of our business,” says Michael Burns, CEO of public relations firm Michael A. Burns & Associates Inc.  “We are diversifying our services based on what our clients want from a PR agency.”
  • James Hering, a principal at The Richards Group, tells the Dallas Business Journal that many of his clients allocate about 70 percent of their marketing budgets to digital and online initiatives.
  • As further confirmation, Michael Crawford, president of a M/C/C, an advertising and PR firm, estimates that 60 percent to 70 percent of his revenue now comes from digital work.

I suspect these Dallas agencies are pretty representative of what’s happening nationally and internationally. 

If your ad agency isn’t getting on board the social-media train, consider these parting words from The Winterberry Group,  a consulting firm that helps advertising and marketing companies grow shareholder value:

“Spending in the online marketing segment is expected to increase to $8 billion by 2012.”

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.

Coca-Cola Can Teach Ad Agencies Valuable Lessons about Social Media

The Coca-Cola Company has always been one of my favorite companies, in part because of its innovative marketing. With the incredible brand recognition Coke enjoys it would be easy to get complacent, but Coca-Cola executives have resisted the temptation to do so.

So it’s no surprise that Atlanta-based Coca-Cola has become a leader in social media marketing. With 500 brands in more than 200 countries, can’t afford not to be efficient.

Michael Donnelly, the company’s group director of worldwide interactive marketing, oversees a group of 30 people in Coke’s global interactive group, including four focused on social media, according to an article last month Media Post News Marketing Daily

A new program called KO Social Hub reportedly will be a social media tool kit that any of Coca-Cola’s 3,500 marketers around the world can use locally to create programs.

“The idea,” Marketing Daily states, “is to make it easier for marketers in different countries to reach local cohorts of Coca-Cola’s 7 million fans across dozens of social-media sites.”

Instead of running programs, Mr. Donnelly is providing marketers with platforms to potentially run thousands of programs.

“If you were to create a Facebook and YouTube page for every country in which you market, then moderate and run those pages, you will be doing a $30 to $40 million investment,” he notes. “Our strategy is to have a single presence, central pages so that no matter where you are in the world, when you pull up YouTube/Coca-Cola, you get a country-local social page.”

Sounds like a smart, cost-effective strategy that will pay great dividends by continuing to build Coke’s brands throughout the world.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.

Ad Agencies: PRWeb’s Redesigned Site Aims to Improve Online Visibility

PRWeb’s redesigned website has some great improvements intended to enhance visibility for news releases, provide users with educational resources and make it easier for them to navigate throughout the site. The upgrades include:

• An updated news release template that is more visual, more interactive and purportedly performs better online.
• A news center dedicated to giving news releases industry-leading visibility. According to PRWeb, “Readers and search engines can find your story faster, which means more traffic to your website.”
• Expert resources that include a long list of ideas for news release topics, legal news guidelines, white papers, webinar archives and a ton of information about using video
• Best practice case studies featuring customers who’ve achieved “amazing” results, so that users can learn how their peers are using PRWeb in innovative ways.

Of course, the number of news release pick ups and the volume of traffic to sites will continue to be the criteria of success for users. It’s too early to tell how effective these changes will be, but they seem to be promising. I’m looking forward to trying the re-engineered PRWeb site with my next release, and see if I notice an uptick in responses.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.

Media Survey Provides Insights for Ad Agencies

Journalists are broadening the ways they interact with PR professionals and other sources, and much of this interaction is coming through social media, according to the PRWeek/PR Newswire 2010 Media Survey.

The survey was conducted online, with 1,568 traditional and non-traditional media representatives and 1,670 PR practitioners completing it.

I found it particular interesting, though not surprisingly, that it is becoming more common for journalists to establish relationships with sources online.

The more traditional ways of pitching, while not dead, are certainly declining, and ad agencies need to adapt to new methods of reaching influential reporters.

Other noteworthy findings pertaining to social media include:

• 43% of journalists have been pitched through social networks, compared to 31% in 2009.

• 62% of PR professionals follow individual journalists and media outlets via social networks.

• 59% of traditional journalists are the author of a blog, whether personal or professional, and 31% are writing a blog for their traditional outlet, an increase from 28% in 2009.

• 44% of PR pros are choosing to circumvent traditional journalists for certain stories — 17% of respondents are pitching to traditional media outlets with less frequency; 66% are targeting bloggers more than before; and 45% are going directly to consumers more often.

• Journalists are also using blogs in their research, with 45% saying they’ve quoted a blog in an article. However, when researching a specific company, 90% of journalists are still acquiring information through the company’s Web site; 24% are using general blogs, and 23% are going to the company’s blog to get information on that specific business.

• While 34% of journalists say they use company blogs for general story research, 51% report they do not find company blogs useful, “pointing to a possible disconnect in how businesses are presenting information.”

• 43% of PR practitioners report using social networks to pitch the media, with 76% using Twitter and 49% using Facebook.

• 61% of journalists that have been pitched via social network have received pitches via Facebook, while 44% have received Twitter pitches. (Only 18% of journalists were getting Twitter pitches a year ago.)

• 84% of journalists consider e-mail the best way to receive story pitches; only 4% report the phone to be the best way to do so.

• 57% of journalists anticipate a decline in print circulation with an increased focus on the Web.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.

Questions Ad Agency Principles Should Consider before Writing a Book

In my previous post, I discussed the benefits to ad agency principles of writing a book. The following is a list of questions to consider before getting started:

1. What is the purpose of the book?

2. What are your objectives for it?

3. Who is the target audience?

4. What are the three most compelling reasons the target audience would want to buy your book?

5. How would you describe the book in one sentence?

6. What are the key points and takeaways you want readers to get?

7. What is your book’s desired personality?

8. What topics will it cover?

9. How many chapters/pages/words do you estimate for your book?

10. Are there areas you want to cover that you don’t have the expertise to personally address? If so, who will cover those areas?

11. Have you researched competitive books already on the market?

12. How will your book be different?

13. What unmet marketplace needs does it address?

14. Within what time frame would you like to have the manuscript completed?

15. What percentage of time can you devote to the book each week?

16. How much of your book’s content is in notes, speeches, case studies, presentations, etc., vs. what is in your head?

17. Who will you approach for endorsements?

18. How will the book help your agency generate new business?

19. What spin-off agency services could be created that tie into the book?

20. What strategies could be employed to market the book in advance of its release?

Foursquare Will Have Ad Agencies Buzzing

It’s been called the Twitter of 2010, which gives Foursquare a lot to live up to.

This new social networking site is the ultimate way to enhance consumer-business relationships online. Foursquare provides reward points to users when they visit local merchants, and if a user checks in a particular place more than others, he or she is honored as the Foursquare Mayor.

Since its launch earlier this year, Foursquare has acquired more than 100,000 users in more than 100 cities worldwide.

“Users are alerted when their friends check in to different places. They can give tips about their dining or shopping experiences and can list their favorite hangouts. Foursquare also lets users know who else is checked in at a particular hot spot,” according to an article in The Tennessean.

To read more, visit:

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.

A Helpful Tool for Ad Agencies: is a free service that matches guests with expertise on particular topics with the hosts who want to interview them. Radio talk show, podcast, online radio show, satellite radio and TV program bookers and producers use it to discover new talk show interview guests.

You can be notified when a show is looking for a particular type of expert by signing up at When the site gets a request from a talk show host, you’ll receive an e-mail with details. It’s up to you whether you want to respond to the opportunity.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.

Google Alerts Alert Ad Agencies to News

Google Alerts can help ad agencies keep on top of news in particular areas related to them and their clients. I have one set up for each client so that I know what is being said and where there may be opportunities for follow-up stories.

You also can keep track of what is being reported about your agency and your clients, as well as competitors. Best of all, Google Alerts are free. To set up your own alerts, go to

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.