Some budgets are bigger than others

By in Portugal on 2007/03/26

Big budgetsThese might have been the words from Morrisey describing online advertising budgets. Indeed, in the recent US online advertising boom some industries were the main drivers, with Auto and Telecom categories leading the way.

Top Ten Advertising Categories: Full Year 2006 vs. Full Year 20059
CATEGORY FULL YEAR 2006 (Millions) FULL YEAR 2005 (Millions) % CHANGE
TELECOM $9,431.1 $8,550.5 10.3%
AUTO, NON-DOMESTIC $8,726.7 $8,832.8 -1.2%
LOCAL SERVICES & AMUSEMENTS $8,687.0 $7,879.2 10.3%
FINANCIAL SERVICES $8,681.8 $8,508.8 2.0%
MISC RETAIL10 $8,322.9 $8,258.0 0.8%
AUTO, DOMESTIC $7,615.2 $8,625.1 -11.7%
DIRECT RESPONSE $6,376.1 $6,087.0 4.7%
PERSONAL CARE PDTS $5,717.2 $5,654.1 1.1%
TRAVEL & TOURISM $5,406.4 $5,486.1 -1.5%
PHARMACEUTICALS $5,285.4 $4,645.8 13.8%
Source: TNS Media Intelligence

As for Portugal, i’ve seen some some odd behaviors, with the big advertisers coming from the financial sector, mostly from personal loans and credit, followed closely by the telecoms, mobile and ISP providers.

Browse through a bunch of Portuguese websites and 7 out of 10 online ad units are probably some credit card or personal loan company. That surely explains the large deficit in family’s budgets (more than 110%), quite different from the private savings rate we had 20 years ago (about 20%).

Telecoms and mobile operators are also extremely aggressive, specially the ring tone operators that get quite happy with a CTR of 0,00001%. Go figure. I wonder what will become of these banner-spammers when the iPhone arrives or people become more tech savvy and learn to upload a MP3 to their phone.

The question that remains to be answered for Portugal is why the auto companies seem so reluctant to invest heavily in Online Advertising. I know that the industry is going through a long crisis, but a high ROI medium seems a good medicine, don’t you think so?
If you have any other strange national (non US) market behaviors to share, i’ll be glad to hear from you.