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Why Marin’s IPO shows that Internet Advertising is still the future of the Web

You don’t have to be a high-fly­ing busi­ness devel­op­ment man­ag­er to know that when peo­ple access free con­tent on the Web, it’s because online adver­tis­ing paid for it.

It might not yet be as big as its old­er TV, radio and print cousins, but inter­net adver­tis­ing is def­i­nite­ly on the way up. Oth­er­wise ad-track­ing com­pa­nies like Marin Soft­ware would have lit­tle to look for­ward to in an IPO; instead, its shares soared from $14 at the start of trad­ing last Fri­day to $20, set­tling down at $16.26. All told, it pulled down a wal­lop­ing $105 million.

How to make a busi­ness devel­op­ment man­ag­er smile

The mar­ket gave a vote of con­fi­dence to online adver­tis­ing in this IPO result – the kind of ver­dict guar­an­teed to put a spring in the step of the job­bing busi­ness devel­op­ment man­ag­er.  Adver­tis­ers want to track their returns and Marin’s own research sug­gests that they remain buoy­ant: last year, the total online adver­tis­ing spend was $98 bil­lion. By 2017, the com­pa­ny fore­casts that it will rise $174 billion.

Accord­ing to the firm’s CEO Chris Lien, this won’t sim­ply mean more ads, it’ll mean bet­ter ads. He said:

“Con­sumers will see a lot of pos­i­tives over the next cou­ple of years in terms of rel­e­vance of ads. Ads that are viewed as intru­sive will become wel­come because they’re so relevant.”

The day of the one-to-one ad nears

Big devel­op­ments are already under­way, Liens says. Most of us won’t yet have seen them, but a new gen­er­a­tion of ads is about to arrive; the biggest adver­tis­ing plat­forms are gear­ing up to deliv­er gen­uine one-to-one adver­tis­ing, where the only ads a con­sumer will see are the ones he or she is tru­ly inter­est­ed in.

Firms like Marin aren’t the only ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the steady for­ward march of online adver­tis­ing: if you can stand the incan­des­cent glare, just take a look at the shine com­ing off Google’s shares, which have stood at over $800 for almost a month.  Yes, it’s been in the news late­ly for RSS apps, self-dri­ving cars and Google Glass, but no busi­ness devel­op­ment man­ag­er should for­get that it’s first and fore­most an adver­tis­ing com­pa­ny, sell­ing $42 bil­lion worth of ads in 2012 alone.

The writing’s on the wall: inter­net adver­tis­ing is poised to mea­sure up to its old­er rel­a­tives very soon.

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