Glam and iVillage Are Pieces to a Bigger Puzzle

Glam Media, a network known for its fashion and beauty content, surpassed iVillage in traffic last month, according to comScore MediaMetrix’s Top 10 list of Women’s Web Properties. However, while Glam touted its skyrocketing year-over-year growth from 463,000 unique visitors in May 2006 to almost 17.3 million in May 2007, that doesn’t mean ad buyers will jump the iVillage ship in favor of Glam. Nor does it mean the publishers should even be compared when it comes to making media buying decisions.

“There are a lot of networks that have more women than iVillage. Does that mean they’re a better place to advertise? Not necessarily,” said David Smith, CEO of integrated media agency Mediasmith. Rather than traffic numbers alone, audience and content quality are more important in determining media spend, he added.

ComScore found that and other properties in the NBC Universal-owned iVillage network of sites garnered a little over 17 million uniques in May. Other top women’s sites included Everyday Health (8.4 million), The CondeNet Network (6.9 million) and Womensforum Sites (5.8 million).

Although Glam has branched out into new categories such as health, its flagship site and network are dominated by content about celebrities, fashion, beauty and shopping. On the other hand, both the main iVillage site and its affiliated network sites are better known as places to reach women seeking information on topics like pregnancy, health, fitness and home and garden, in addition to entertainment and beauty content.
Glam has begun adding health-related sites to its network, including QualityHealth. “We actually just started on that space,” said Glam Media CEO Samir Arora, noting the network’s content focus remains fashion, style and celebs.

“Very seldom would ‘Vogue’ be on the same plan as ‘Women’s Day’,” said Smith, likening Glam to to the former and iVillage to the latter. The two magazines reach a “very different kind of female,” he added. “I’m not sure that if people really think about it, they’re necessarily competitive, other than they both reach women. So what?”

Recent iVillage advertisers include Minute Maid and TNT’s “The Closer.” Both publishers offer customized formats to advertisers in addition to more standard options like display and video-enabled ads. Both also allow advertisers to reach their users on sites outside traditional women’s media categories. Glam, for instance, serves ads on student community site MyYearbook, and iVillage includes in its network.

“I think the comparison [between iVillage and Glam Media] is just kind of off base,” said Peter Naylor, SVP Digital Media Sales for NBC Universal.

Glam offers 350 publisher sites and blogs in its network in addition to around 10 owned and operated sites, along with its destination. According to the company, the destinations it owns account for about 10 percent of the unique visitors on all its network sites. Though the majority of its network sites and blogs do focus on celebrity, fashion and beauty content, some stray from strictly female-targeted content, including Dog enthusiast site Dogster, yoga site A Yoga Coffee Outlook, and MySpace code and tool site Pimp MySpace. Current Glam network advertisers include Cosmopolitan, Clairol and Schick.

The presence of such sites in the Glam network wouldn’t deter Mediavest SVP, Group Director, Strategy and Innovation Amanda Richman from buying there to target women. Glam is “starting to look at other like passions that women might share….It’s not all beauty, all the time,” she said. Richman thinks of iVillage as a good place to reach a broader segment of women, while Glam sites are better for reaching influential fashion-savvy women through niche content.

In the end, said Mediasmith’s Smith, unique visitor numbers are given too much import. “There’s so much emphasis on total number of users,” he told ClickZ News. “For every other medium, we look at how many customers [visiting or viewing on a given property] are in our targeted audience….It’s time for the Web to start comparing itself based on targets people are actually buying.”

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