More Sites Sought Advertising in 1998

The number of Web sites seeking advertising increased 38 percent during 1998, according to the second annual Online Advertising Report (OAR) Year in Review issued by Adknowledge.

Two of the fastest-growing categories of sites were classifieds and shopping/transactions. These categories accounted for more than one-third of the new sites established in 1998, according to the report.

For the second year in a row, the OAR has found that average CPMs were down. In 1998, average CPMs were down 6 percent from 1997. According to the OAR, the average CPM in December of 1997 was $37.21; in December of 1998, the average CPM was $35.13. This trend should continue in 1999.

“Although Web advertising rates fell 6 percent for the second year, CPM rates also declined during the fourth quarter, historically the busiest time of year,” said Kevin Wandryk, vice president of marketing for Adknowledge. “We expect this downward trend to continue due to the ongoing rapid growth in the supply side of online ad space.”

Two of the larger categories of sites, computers/technology and shopping/transactions, increased their CPMs in 1998. E-mail, audio, and travel sites also reported higher CPMs in 1998 than 1997.

Types of Ads

The OAR found that the adoption of standard ad sizes on the Internet continues. The 468 x 60 banner is the most universally accepted size, according to the report. The 125 x 125 and 120 x 90 sizes have shown the largest percent increase in use over the past year. Four of the top 10 banner sizes in 1998 (88 x 31, 460 x 55, 460 x 60, and 480 x 60) were not widely used in 1997, indicating a fair amount of experimentation.

GIF and JPEG ads remain by far the most popular (GIF is the most popular) formats accepted on the Internet. HTML and Java ads were the most popular rich media types accepted in 1998, and the use of rich media ads continues to grow. Of the 13 rich media formats tracked by the OAR in 1998, 10 were not in wide use in 1997.

Browsers

Adknowledge first reported in November that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer had passed Netscape’s Navigator as the Web’s most popular browser. The OAR reports a 47.8 percent share of the browser market for Explorer, but when combined with the 2.9 percent share for Microsoft’s Web TV, Microsoft has more than 50 percent of the browser market, according to the report. The OAR reports that Internet Explorer had a higher share on weekends than weekdays, suggesting that more home-based users use Explorer than Navigator. In December of 1997, Netscape’s browser share was 61 percent; it fell to 46.3 percent by December of 1998. Internet Explorer users have higher click rates than Navigator users, according to the OAR.

The statistics for the OAR are pulled from more than 1,400 sites and samples of ads served across hundreds of sites.

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