Given the size of the Irish market, Google's David Geraghty says companies that want to succeed must look overseas, since an export-led economic recovery is Ireland's best chance for a return to growth.
Mr Geraghty was part of a Prosperity Recruitment debate on the importance of digital to marketing and media in Ireland this year.
Facebook's Colm Long said digital growth was shown last year by the 12pc increase in online advertising.
Brand owners are impressed by its effectiveness, reach and measurability.
Philip Flynn, of the Digital Web Development Agency, said online media firms are normally small and adapt better to change.
Shenda Loughnane, of the Aegis media group, said digital is expanding at a "furious rate", which has led to a serious skills shortage.
She predicts more jobs in content, technology, ecommerce and data services. Neil Leyden, of Calico Media, said Forfas claimed that by 2020, 75pc of jobs in Ireland would be in services, all of which would require computers.
Author Johnny Ryan said the big development for digital could come in 2012, if the proposed international content centre opens in Dublin.
The idea gathered pace by it winning the Your Country, Your Call initiative and the recent setting up of a clearing group at the Department of An Taoiseach to deal with "red tape".
Cybercom's Keith Lacy said that unless people have been living under a bush it's impossible to ignore the role digital plays. He said he mentioned it to someone recently and they laughed. He thought rose was their bush of choice.
Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie magazine; email@example.com