Study: Online Advertisers Favor Brief, General-Audience Campaigns

More than half of all banner ad campaigns run three weeks or less, with almost a quarter of all ads lasting only a week, according to a new study by the AdRelevance division of Media Metrix.

A media budget focusing on maximizing exposure at the expense of campaign length allows planners to concentrate impressions, and is suited for direct marketing efforts. However, extended brand awareness is achieved through longer campaigns, said analysts from AdRelevance.

For this reason, the study concluded that advertisers in the automotive industry, with its marketing emphasis on brand building, runs ads almost twice as long as those in hardware and electronics — an average of 7.8 weeks to 4.1, respectively.

Financial services and travel industry advertisers also created campaigns that lasted six or more weeks on average.

“Findings suggest that automotive, financial services and travel advertisers are out to change behavior because they are running banners the longest, when compared to other industries,” said AdRelevance vice president of media research Charlie Buchwalter.

Another interesting finding suggested that most media buyers opt to purchase space on general-interest sites such as portals, search engines and community sites. The consumer goods industry alone bucked the trend, placing ads on targeted, niche sites more often than broad-reach sites.

But every other industry targeted most of their ads to general audiences, with the travel, financial services and web media industries leading the pack. Advertisers in these industries placed more than three-quarters of their banners on portals, search engines or general community destinations.

In addition to favoring general-interest media buys over targeted campaigns, few advertisers make large-scale ad buys, with less than half running less than 44,000 impressions.

A campaign of this size would garner a 0.0003 percent share of voice on a major portal like Yahoo, the report indicated.

While the average campaign in second quarter 2000 produced about 7.3 million impressions, the fact that only a few advertisers run large campaigns is the reason that most advertisers each enjoy less than a 0.01 percent share of all online banner impressions.

Authors of the study, which analyzed standard-sized 468×60 ads on the top 500 sites from July 1999 to June 2000, attribute these findings to a need for greater plan refinement and experience from online media buyers.

“Online advertising market is still in its infancy, and has a way to go before analysts can accurately determine what constitutes an effective and successful online ad campaign,” Buchwalter said. “We’ll know things are changing when more companies commit to larger, longer and more targeted online campaigns.”

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