Multi-Billion $ Stakes for Online Consumers in How Congress Protects Their Privacy and Transactions

It’s time for policymakers to act and protect online consumers–who are at risk confronting a largely invisible, sophisticated, and far-reaching digital marketing system.  It’s useful to see how much was spent targeting U.S. consumers online.  This is from the IAB’s 2009 online advertising revenue report [my bold]:
Retail Advertisers Continue to Drive Consumer Ad Spending –2009 Annual Results
 Retail advertisers continue to represent the largest category of Internet ad spending, accounting for 20 percent of revenues for the full year of 2009 or $4.5 billion, down from the 22 percent ($5.0 billion) reported in 2008.
 Telecom companies accounted for 16 percent of 2009 full year revenues or $3.6 billion, up slightly from the 15 percent ($3.5 billion) reported in 2008
 Leisure Travel (airfare, hotels & resorts) accounted for 6% percent of 2009 revenues ($1.5 billion) compared to the 6 percent or $1.4 billion reported in 2008.
 Financial Services advertisers accounted for 12 percent of 2009 full year revenues or $2.8 billion, down from the 13percent ($3.0 billion) reported in 2008.
 Automotive advertisers accounted for 11 percent of 2009 full year revenues or $2.5 billion, down slightly from the 12 percent ($2.8billion) reported in 2008.
 Computing advertisers represented the fifth-largest category of spending at 10 percent of 2009 full year revenues or $2.3 billion, in line with the 10 percent reported ($2.4 billion) in 2008.
 Consumer Packaged Goods and Food Products represented 6 percent of the full year 2009 revenues ($1.4 billion), in line with the 6 percent or $1.5 billion reported in 2008.
 Entertainment accounted for 4% of 2009 full year revenues ($1.0 billion), up slightly from the 4% ($917million) reported in 2008.
 Media accounted for 4 percent of 2009 full year revenues or $881 million, up slightly from the 3 percent ($764 million) reported in 2008.

[and to underscore its importance, note the definition of financial services online marketing used by the IAB:  Financial Services—includes commercial banks, credit agencies, personal credit institutions, consumer finance companies, loan companies, business credit institutions and credit card agencies. Also includes companies engaged in the underwriting, purchase, sale or brokerage of securities and other financial contracts. 

As well as the $1.5 billion spent last year on:  Lead Generation—fees advertisers pay to Internet advertising companies that refer qualified purchase inquiries (e.g., auto dealers which pay a fee in exchange for receiving a qualified purchase inquiry online) or provide consumer information (demographic, contact, behavioral) where the consumer opts into being contacted by a marketer (email, postal, telephone, fax). These processes are priced on a performance basis (e.g., cost-per-action, -lead or -inquiry), and can include user applications (e.g., for a credit card), surveys, contests (e.g., sweepstakes) or registrations. 

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.