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Online Ad Impressions Down

While the number of retailers advertising online this holiday season has almost quadrupled from last year, median ad impressions per retailer is down, a study says.

According to a report Monday by Internet measurement firm AdRelevance, a Jupiter Media Metrix company, the number of holiday Web advertisers jumped from 657 in 1999 to 2,313 this year. The significant increase, however, caused median ad impressions (opportunities to see an ad) per retailer to plummet 82 percent in October. The median dropped to 23,000 compared to 130,000 during the same time last year.

"As you add more companies that are spending very little online, it drives the ad impression median down," explained AdRelevance analyst Marc Ryan. "The bulk of advertising dollars are made up by a few companies."

Among those companies are Internet behemoth Amazon.com, which accounted for 15 percent of online advertising from Oct. 2 to Nov. 15, the study said, followed by bookseller Barnes & Noble.com that captured a 13 percent share. Other top advertisers during this time included eBay, Yahoo, RedEnvelope, uBid, 1-800-Flowers.com, BestBuy.com, Corbis and RadioShack.com.

This year's rise in e-mail marketing may have also contributed to the decline in median ad impressions, analysts speculated. According to another report released today by New York-based Jupiter Research, 79 percent of retail advertisers planned e-mail campaigns for the holidays. Advertisers continue to favor retention-based and sponsored e-mail for its high response rates and low out-of-pocket costs, Jupiter analyst Marissa Gluck said.

"The [e-mail] house lists are larger this year versus last year," explained Gluck. "It's wise to extract as much value as you can from current customers before you try to acquire new ones," which presents a costly alternative.

Meanwhile, advertisers have soured somewhat on mass portals due to exorbitant costs and mediocre returns on investment, the study said. However, Jupiter cautioned advertisers against refraining from portal deals all together. According to the study, 72 percent of consumers intended to find online merchants and products through search engines this holiday.


Ann M. Mack, ADWEEK. December 4, 2000

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