House Ads Still Taking Up Space Online

Although the number of advertisers on the Web has grown approximately 62 percent since January of 2000, a sizable portion of online companies are still filling ad space with banner ads promoting their own products and services, according to research conducted by AdRelevance.

According to the research, advertising by publishers on their own sites accounts for almost 20 percent of all available online advertising inventory. AdRelevance looked at house advertising on the 500 highest traffic trafficked ad-supported sites between January and April 2000. Among the findings:

  • 179 online companies devoted more than 1 percent of their inventory to house advertising
  • House advertising accounted for more than 17 billion online ad impressions out of a total of 92 billion impressions
  • Few companies are extensive users of house advertising: 63 sites carry more than 20 percent house ads and only 15 sites in genres such as kids and family, games, and movies and television, run greater than 50 percent house ads
  • Compared to other Web site genres, vertical sites such as online employment companies, lead the pack when it comes to running house ads. Approximately 45 percent of all online ad inventory on employment sites is devoted to house advertisements, while portals run an average of 12 percent house ads.

“Although the online advertising industry has been growing at a phenomenal rate, the AdRelevance house advertising figures suggest that almost 26 million dollars of potential online ad space is going unsold every week,” said Charlie Buchwalter, VP of Media Research for AdRelevance. “It’s important to note, however, that this house advertising phenomenon is not equally spread across all sites. Portals, community sites, and search engines are able to sell a higher percentage of their inventory than a variety of smaller, more vertical Web site genres.”

Inventory Allocation by Genre
High Unique Visitors
Low House Advertising

Fashion, Romance, & Comedy
General News
Music & Streaming Media
Search Engines
High Unique Visitors
High House Advertising

Computing & Technology
Health & Fitness
Personal Expression
Travel, Maps & Local
Low Unique Visitors
Low House Advertising

Business & Finance
Comics & Humor
Home & Garden
Reference & Education
Low Unique Visitors
High House Advertising

Kids & Family
Movies & Television
Shopping & Auction
Society, Politics, & Science
Sports & Recreation
Yellow & White Pages

“Sites with large number of house impressions appear to be taking full advantage of the marketing and communication opportunities that house advertising brings,” Buchwalter said. “As some of the most highly visible sites on the Web today, with an average of over 20 million visitors in April alone, portals are able to reach an extremely broad audience across their affiliated Web sites, minimizing the need to advertise on competitors’ sites.”

Top 18 Genres of Sites with High Concentration of House Ads
Genre % Impressions
Devoted to
House Ads
Employment 45 1,439,000
Health & Fitness 26 2,453,000
Kids & Family 26 2,001,000
Computing & Technology 24 4,164,000
Movies & Television 22 1,711,000
Society, Politics, & Science 19 1,433,000
Games 19 2,508,000
Personal Expression 18 3,387,000
Travel, Maps & Local 16 3,787,000
Shopping & Auction 14 2,250,000
Yellow & White Pages 13 1,272,000
Sports & Recreation 13 2,249,000
Reference & Education 13 607,000
Portals 12 20,036,000
Incentive 12 4,186,000
Home & Garden 11 1,032,000
Music & Streaming Media 11 3,662,000
Fashion, Romance & Celebrity 10 2,598,000
Source: AdRelevance

As the number of advertisers on the Web increases, the amount of house advertising is bound to decrease, according to AdRelevance. For media buyers, knowing the amount of house advertising on a site can be an effective negotiating tool by helping them to assess the demand for ad space on a Web site. Sites with a large amount of house advertising are more likely to be flexible with pricing than are those sites with a majority of inventory devoted to paid-for banners.

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