Some interesting stuff has come out over the last week or so about online advertising.
Last week, it was reported that online advertising had become the biggest advertising medium, overtaking TV for the first time. Great news for those working in online news, right? Hmmm.
Here's econsultancy.com with their recommendations on where to spend your money online. And notable by the absence is any kind of advertising which news sites might currently benefit from. Paid search? Tick. Web design? Tick. Social media? Tick. Display ads, directories or classifieds? Er, no.
As one of the commenters says, you need to take this list with a pinch of salt as it comes from "an SEO company and is therefore biased towards a reductive click-based model of online marketing" but I'm not sure it's that far off the mark when it comes to where smart companies are thinking about spending their budgets.
Take studies like this one from Qube which found in one particular case social media was 23 times more effective than banner ads (as a social media agency, they would say that, wouldn't they - but those figures are pretty striking).
Of course advertisers have always found ways to avoid shelling out for adverts. Every hack knows about the bogus survey - a poorly researched top of the pops on a subject vaguely related to the product, usually with a pointless embargo, which are a) easy and cheap to report b) insanely popular with readers. One dropped into my inbox yesterday. We ignored it, but a quick Google News search shows about two dozen plus sites did publish today.
But the difference here is that social media allows brands to bypass mass media entirely. And it's not just commercial brands - it's also local authorities, celebrities, politicians, lots of the people who previously relied on the papers to get their message out there.
Are we feeling irrelevant yet?