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Yahoo’s new ad network – but is bigger really better?
September 8, 2008, 2:28 pm
Filed under: marketing, MSN, online advertising, Yahoo! | Tags: , ,

Yahoo’s relaunch of its online ad network, which now claims to reach more than 80 per cent of the web’s population, may be good news for the investors as it tries to keep pace with Google’s relentless ad network growth, but beyond being a positive bit of PR for a company that needs it, is it actually what the online advertising market actually needs?

The latest Bellwether Report made grim reading earlier in the summer and in a tighter economic environment, while the Internet is escaping marketing budget cuts, it is being squeezed with online budgets seeing their smallest upward revision since 2003. The issue therefore is not whether Yahoo simply fight with Google and provide as broad a reach, but what is it actually going to do to bolster the online display ad market? What fresh value will it add to the market? And how will it help marketers justify continued investment?

Beyond all the obvious Yahoo-owned properties, the new ad network boasts offering space on more than 100 top comScore-rated web sites. That’s all well and good, but what difference does that really offer a market looking to make its display advertising more effective? Online display advertising can have more of an impact than simply brand building, but it involves thinking a bit more creatively about the issue than simply buying up space on the 100 most visited sites.

In fact carpet bombing the most visited sites on the web is a nothing more than a hit and hope exercise if you’re response rates is your goal. Fortunately, some marketers and media buyers are beginning to realise that looking outside the top 100 most visited sites, they can find specific sites that offer access to energised audiences that are far more receptive and responsive. One of those smart chaps is a friend of mine in the online ad industry and he uses the example of a pet food brand advertising online, and the different response levels it would get running ads on MSN, Yahoo etc compared to investing the same budget in a handful of pet-lover web sites.

He also told me he was amazed by how many media buyers and online marketers still don’t get it, despite the pressure on their budgets. So while Yahoo can be applauded for the impressive reach and scale of its revamped network, the real question is, do marketers really need it right now and isn’t it a bit late to the game?

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Display ads to hold up online market? surely not
December 5, 2007, 2:28 pm
Filed under: AOL, marketing, MSN, online advertising, social media | Tags: , , , , ,

Online display advertising and online sponsorship will hold up advertising market and take the lion’s share of ever-increasing online spends. That bold assertion is the key finding of a report from Convera, a US-based vertical search firm. It cuts clearly against the rest of the industry consensus that paid search and social media will take a greater share of the online budget.

 So what’s the real beef? Well as CPM and PPC costs continue to swell, they occupy very specific niches. CPM for brand awareness and paid search for leads. But social networks lilke Facebook, MySpace and Bebo are all carving out ever larger slices of the online spend as marketers begin to understand how they can make them work to generate quality leads that are more likely to become paying customers.

 Will publishers earn more from display ads and sponsorships in 2008? The larger players, namely portals such as MSN, AOL and Tiscali will continue to cream revenue off channel sponsorships. But as social networks account for an increasing volume of overall Internet traffic (and in November accounted for over 5 per cent of UK internet traffic, overtaking webmail sites) the money will shift in line with where the lion’s share of the available advertising inventory is, meaning publishers will need to become more creative and go beyond simple display and sponsorship opportunities that were the bread and butter of the glory days of 2000.