Online ad business, what's the forecast?
February 1, 2009 5:31 PM   Subscribe

Is now a good time to get into the online advertising business for an "interactive" agency? What's the forecast for this industry?

I am a usability professional working for a consulting company (tech industry), which probably only has enough cash on hand to make it into 2010 without layoffs. After that, I'd be pretty high up on the list of people to cut based on my experience and time at the company if things continue to go south.

On the bright side, I've been offered a job for an interactive agency in a usability role. They specialize in Website Optimization (SEO, whatever you want to call it)--but are a full service shop that does design, usability testing and coding as part of the complete offering.

Couple of questions:
1. What is the forecast of the online ad business?
2. Is now a good time to be changing career paths?
3. How do usability folks typically fit into a company like this? Will I be marginalized? Constantly fighting with Marketing folks?
4. Professionally, does a usability engineer with marketing experience make me more attractive?
5. The work would involve using google analytics to manage online advertising campaigns--and of course making sure sites are functional and usable. How much of this business is snake oil?
6. Should I just stick it out with my company and hope for the best?

throwaway email:
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (2 answers total)
Well, is it IMC2? They have done several rounds of layoffs. Last time it was 17 percent of their employees right before Christmas. Just wondering, as they have several offices nationwide.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:04 PM on February 1, 2009

I worked for an interactive agency a few years ago, on the finance side of things. Given that finance and IT folks generally tend to get along, I was pretty friendly with the tech guys and got an earful from them about their jobs.

I'd say that interactive advertising is, like all advertising, highly cyclical. Marketing is one of the first budgets a company will trim to cut costs.

Your experience with each campaign will depend on the account manager and the experience and strength of the media/marketing teams involved, and how effectively they communicate with the client. A lot of what you're describing in terms of metrics analysis (particularly with google analytics) would have been done by media planners in my day... you'd pull down the raw data and refine it, they'd see if the performance targets for were met and make adjustments accordingly. It will be a long time before you're fully into marketing. If you have marketing experience, it would be a plus for them and for you, as you'll understand what they need a bit more. But where I and my techy friends worked, IT was there to provide technical support and to do a specific job, and only were rarely involved in anything other than purely tech stuff. One of them was a pretty effective codemonkey and web geek, who eventually went into business for himself doing just what he did at the agency. At the agency, though, the scope of his involvement was to be brought into discussions with the other company's tech guys who had ethical and other questions about performance tracking tech used in company campaigns... or to make sure presentations were flawless.

ymmv, of course

I don't know if this answers your question, but if you have any more I could answer, memail me.
posted by Grrlscout at 9:02 AM on February 2, 2009

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