Top E-Commerce Sites Spending Big on Branding

A new industry study says the top 100 e-commerce sites spent an average $8.6 million each last year to build their online brands and drive traffic to their Web sites.

According to the San Diego-based Intermarket Group’s Internet Commerce Briefing, even the smallest companies in this group, those with 100 or fewer employees, spent an average $2.2 million on marketing. The largest companies in the group spent $21.4 million each on average.

The top five marketing budgets in 1998, according to the report, belonged to Amazon.com Inc. ($133.0 million), E*Trade Group Inc. ($71.3 million), BarnesandNoble.com Inc. ($70.4 million), CDnow Inc. ($44.6 million), and Ameritrade Holding Corp. ($43.6 million).

As e-commerce moves into the mainstream, sites are diversifying their marketing programs, the report said, with 86 percent now investing in conventional media buys and only 14 percent continuing to focus their advertising dollars exclusively online.

Newspapers and magazines, employed by 55 percent and 54 percent of sites respectively, are the most popular offline advertising media. More than one-third (35%) of sites are investing in radio and television advertising.

The Internet Commerce Briefing is a new reference guide from the Intermarket Group. It provides a picture of the Internet economy, aggregating data and forecasts from Intermarket’s own eCommerce Almanac as well as from analysts, market researchers and technology consulting organizations.

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