As recent online ad spend reports have shown, the display business has been having a tough year — and this past week’s market shocks suggest it’s only going to get worse. Companies like AOL (NYSE: TWX), Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) have made big bets on display taking off, and the pain of display’s decline could become acute. Microsoft, for one, feels enough is enough, and is stepping up efforts to convince advertisers to consider display, WSJ reports. Microsoft says it can prove that display is a better motivator of consumer behavior than search. The company plans to present its data, which was compiled by its ad serving unit, Atlas Institute, to agencies in round of upcoming meetings. While Microsoft has a search ad business too, it is more dependent on display sales. That said, the company says that the Atlas’ research on display began two years ago, long before it bought the ad serving firm. While Microsoft hopes its numbers will convince advertisers, the company has been oddly silent about promoting it publicly and in detail. More after the jump.
— Agencies remain resistant: Even before Wall St.’s meltdown the other day, Nielsen Online this week found a 27 percent decline in display ad spending by financial services companies drove a 6 percent year-over-year decrease in overall display dollars in the first half of 2008. The number of display impressions decreased by 9 percent during the same period. And earlier this month, JP Morgan revised its