According to the IAB report internet ad revenue for 2011 is expected to cross a record $30 billion this year. Fifteen years ago this number was a mere $267 million. This phenomenal growth can be attributed to only one factor, change.

What has changed? Everything has! The audience, the medium, the message and the delivery.

Internet advertising as we know it, started with the first web banner sold by HotWired paid for by AT&T, and put online on October 27, 1994. Today digital advertising encompasses multiple channels including email, display, search, mobile, social, video, etc. Each of these channels in itself has evolved; display advertising now operates through ad networks, ad exchanges, demand and supply side platforms. The creative execution has kept up as well and today IAB recognizes more than 20 types of formats. Generic content has given way to socially customized content and advanced tracking has taken marketing intelligence to a whole new level.

The underlying factor is, of course, the way people use technology to consume media. Nielsen's Southeast Asia Digital Consumer Report on the regions' netizens revealed most users access the internet on a regular basis, the vast majority at least several times per week, if not daily. A large proportion of digital consumers are making use of mobile phone applications. Games-related and Facebook apps are largely the most popular across all six Southeast Asian markets. Online media is capturing a significant amount of digital consumers' media time each week.

What does this mean for the marketers, media agencies, brand and campaign managers and supply side vendors like us in Asia? I guess it means we need to avoid looking at the digital canvass through the rear view mirror. We need to embrace the new - whether it's re-targeting campaigns and integrated media buys or video seeding and blog sponsorships. Present day technology and digital media in its various shapes and forms is now ready to cover the entire customer journey from acquisition to sales to post-sales. The closer we work together on this, the quicker we'll grow the industry!

By Amarpal Singh, Marketing Manager, Aktiv Digital