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In my current job, we care alot how much time people are spending online. That’s becuase it tends to feed very directly into how much media our clients should buy that way. That’s a very old fashioned approach really – although it works (for forecasting trends at least). In presentations this is called “money follows eyeballs”.

Of course the reason that this is unsophisticated is partly that media, by its own admission, is somewhat blunt but mainly that it leads people into a bit of broken thinking. “I used to spend £40bn on TV advertising when that accounted for 40% of consumers’ media time, now it’s 20% internet, 20% TV so I’m sticking £20bn into online”. That would work fine if people *watched* the internet.

I’m not saying display advertising doesn’t work obviously, just that the web requires more sophisticated thinking. It’s a doing space.

So lets look at the real numbers that should move us: “In November, UK internet sales reached £3bn” (IMRG) that’s £4.57m an hour,  and marks a 50% increase from one year ago. IMRG CEO James Roper sums it up beautifully, “Though no longer a suprise, growth of this magnitude is neverthessless breathtaking”. In the 7 years of the survey the total for the 10 week run-up to Christmas has grown from £0.5bbn to £7bn.

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