The Internet Is Now Pay To Play

Collin Slattery
August 23, 2022

Internet advertising is here to stay. While consumers generally dislike online advertising, advertising is the business model on which the entire internet is built. The average American spends 24 hours on the internet per week, so we are spending more time in front of our computer screens than anywhere else but on our pillows. With everyone spending so much time on the internet, the only question is: should your business be advertising online?The short answer is yes.The long answer is yes, you absolutely should be advertising online.

People are going to the internet to research and buy

Not only are people spending a lot of time on the internet, but they are using the internet as their first source when looking to make buying decisions. Whether they’re looking for a “sushi restaurant near me” or the “best moving company in Brooklyn” consumers go to the internet when they’re looking for something. 89% of consumers go to the internet to do research before making a buying decision, and that number rises to 94% when talking about B2B purchases.And while more people than ever are going to the internet to find businesses, it is becoming harder than ever to be seen by them.

Organic reach is declining

Just a few years ago, it was far easier to be found online. You built a decent website, did some basic SEO, and had a good social media profile, and people would be able to find you. This is no longer the case.Organic reach (your ability to reach people without running online advertising) has been declining for years in both the search engines and social media. From 2015 to 2018, organic reach on Facebook has declined from 5.4% all the way down to 1.2%. And on Google, the percentage of clicks going to organic (unpaid) results on mobile has gone from 66.59% down to 38.97%[caption id="attachment_1485" align="aligncenter" width="400"]

Google organic CTR 2015-2018

And not only is organic reach declining but the number of businesses competing for this smaller slice of the pie is increasing.

Today, the internet is pay to play.

Online advertising is growing

Google makes almost all its money from advertising. Facebook makes almost all its money from advertising. So it makes sense that these giant companies would be pushing the internet towards pay to play. Because when you have to pay, they make more money. And they’re making businesses pay. The size of the digital advertising market eclipsed television for the first time in 2017 and is now the largest advertising channel in the world. By 2020, the digital advertising market will be 43% larger than TV. And Facebook and Google represent 63% of the entire online advertising market.

Advertising spend by channel

What to do next

Pour one out for organic reach, because it isn't coming back. Internet advertising is a growing and ever-more-integral part of succeeding in business in 2018 and beyond, so it is vital that businesses large and small take advantage of the opportunities it offers. Where should you start? We recommend you pick a platform (Facebook or Google) and learn the basics.

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