Online advertising shows strong growth
Buoyed by the current economic recovery, online advertising in Hong Kong is expected to accelerate this year after spending hit a record HK$869 million last year - led by the finance sector.
'The momentum is strong and we're seeing a lot of new advertisers doing online campaigns,' said Alfred Tsoi Po-tak, managing director at Yahoo Hong Kong.
According to the latest AdRelevance report from market research firm Nielsen Online, the number of internet advertisers in the fourth quarter last year more than doubled to 2,514 from 1,060 in 2008.
That raised the number of internet campaigns for the quarter to 6,152 from 3,062 the previous year.
Total online advertising in the quarter reached HK$255 million, which helped lift the full year's spending to HK$869 million, up 17per cent from HK$743 million in 2008.
'All major indicators in the fourth quarter suggest that advertisers are more confident in turning to online advertising as the economy picks up,' said Joseph Kam, commercial director at Nielsen Online Hong Kong & Taiwan.
'With more people turning online, spending an average of almost 20 hours on the internet per week, more advertisers will leverage the internet as a ... platform to deliver their message across a large targeted group,' he said.
The Chinese-language Yahoo Hong Kong, which last May marked its 10th consecutive year as the city's leading Web portal, serves as a reliable barometer of the growth opportunities in online advertising.
Internet market research firm comScore has estimated that about 3.2 million of Hong Kong's online population of more than four million regularly use the local Yahoo site - which also hosts e-mail, auctions and blogs, among other services.
Tsoi said several years ago that there was scarcely much interest in advertising on the internet from the city's top 500 corporate accounts.
'Now they are more open to talking with us and sign up for online campaigns,' said Tsoi, noting that Yahoo has a sales force of more than 20 targeting different sectors.
One of the most prominent new local customers for Yahoo is Sun Hung Kai Properties, which has a campaign promoting its 715-unit Larvotto luxury project in Ap Lei Chau.
Tsoi said government agencies, such as the Security Bureau's narcotics division, and some consumer goods firms like Swanson have also been active with online campaigns.
Tsang Kam-keung, chief executive at the media advertising and marketing agency GroupM in Hong Kong, said the current share of online advertising is less than 10 per cent of the total advertising market, so there is plenty of room to grow.
'We will definitely spend more online,' said Tsang, noting that display, search and social media are the major forms of internet advertising.
The biggest-spending online advertisers last year came from the finance sector, which invested HK$138.7 million, according to Nielsen Online.
Advertisers in the computer and electrical sector, which includes consumer electronics companies, were the next top online spenders with HK$117.8 million.
One of the early adopters of internet advertising has been handset maker Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications. And it has no intention to cut spending, according to Michelle Au, the company's head of marketing for Hong Kong and Macau.