Bigger Sites May Not Be Better for Online Advertisers

by

Advertising on smaller niche sites could make a big difference.

In
the glory days of television, when mass media reigned, media planners
could buy time on CBS, NBC and ABC and waltz out for a three-martini
lunch. Easy as that.

Times have changed, of course. Today, planning multimedia
advertising campaigns is far more complex. But media planners would
still prefer to keep things as simple as possible. When it comes to the
online portion of their budgets, they buy Google, Yahoo! and a few
major vertical-interest sites and, often enough, that is about it.

Merrill Lynch projects that both search and branded advertising will grow online next year, up 27% and 21%, respectively.

But continuing to put the bulk of online ad dollars on large
sites could be a mistake. Big, particularly on the Internet, may not be
better.

According to new research from Media-Screen,
when brand managers and media planners are choosing where to place
their ads online, they should not ignore smaller sites with less
traffic.

The “Netpop | Response” study found that small, long-tail Web
sites are indispensable to consumers — and they provide a new way
for brands to position ads where users want to see them.

Interest in the products and brands advertised on smaller sites
is greater than on larger sites: According to the study, 42% of sites
with less than one million unique visitors a month advertise products
of interest to their viewers, vs. 39% of sites with more than one
million visitors.

The difference is small, but for savvy advertisers looking for an edge, it is worth exploring.

“Consumers have gained control over the content they consume
online and advertisers need to adjust their strategies to match,” said
Josh Crandall of Media-Screen. “By advertising on smaller Websites,
those that consumers are visiting based on their personal interests,
companies can reach a highly engaged consumer with a message that
relates to a subject that is important to them.”

Advertisers should consider putting at least some of their online budgets aside for experimenting with niche site placements.

“Search engines are a driving force behind these trends,
enabling broadbanders to venture beyond the major brands to the niche
sites they previously never knew existed,” said Cate Riegner of
Media-Screen. “62% of sites that respondents mention receive less than
one million unique visitors.”

For related information, read eMarketer’s Local Online Advertising: Measuring the Potential report.

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