Online Ads Are Bigger, Richer

DoubleClick is reporting that the Internet ads it served in 2002 were bigger and more likely to include rich media.

In the release of its fourth-quarter and full-year ad-serving report, the online ad giant said that larger ad formats, such as skyscrapers and large rectangles, saw sharply increased use, although standard sizes still accounted for the lion’s share of ads.

Continuing a trend noted in DoubleClick’s last report, rich media sustained its march into the mainstream, with use growing 43 percent over the year. In the fourth quarter, rich-media ads accounted for 25 percent of all ads served by DoubleClick. The report said it expects this trend will continue, with rich-media ads growing another 10 percent in the first quarter of 2003.

With bigger and richer ads, DoubleClick found increased effectiveness. View-through rates – based on users taking an action within 30 days of seeing an ad – rose 47 percent during the year, from .36 percent in the first quarter to .53 percent in the fourth quarter. Rich media led the way, recording click-through rates of 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter. Click-through rates for non-rich-media ads actually declined from .4 percent in the first quarter to .3 percent in the fourth.

DoubleClick found that marketers and publishers have grown more sophisticated in their advertising, targeting about 42 percent of all ads. The most common form of targeting remains keyword/content, followed by geographic location. Daypart targeting, which has been tabbed as a lucrative opportunity for news sites, remains relatively rare, growing to just 1.44 percent of all ads.

Despite proclamations of its demise by many in the industry, even the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the standard 468 x 60 pixel banner remained very much alive: it accounted for half of all ads DoubleClick served in the fourth quarter. Skyscrapers were the next most popular, making up 8.3 percent of total volume. The use of large rectangles grew 300 percent over the year, but still accounted for just 2 percent of total volume.

The use of larger ad sizes has been a trend in the industry for some time. In December 2002, the IAB endorsed a suite of four standard ad units that significantly increased the size of recommended ad units.

DoubleClick collected the data based on the 630 billion ads its DART system served last year.

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