There's More to Life Than Portals

Online Publishers Tell Advertisers to Broaden Their Web Buys

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Not all impressions are created equal. That is the rallying cry of the Online Publishers Association as it tries to persuade advertisers to buy its sites over portals.
The OPA says its members, and not portals, reach a more desirable audience.
The OPA says its members, and not portals, reach a more desirable audience.

The OPA, whose members are the medium-sized web content providers such as NYTimes.com, Condenet and CBS Digital Media, released research to back up its claim that its members, and not portals, reach the most desirable web audience.

Spread those dollars
The study was meant to incite advertisers to spread their ad dollars over several OPA sites rather than just making a massive buy across a portal, which is often easier than four or five separate ad buys.

"We know the portals of portals -- they provide incredible reach -- but branded rich-content developers provide a more efficient environment," said Pam Horan, OPA president.

The study compared the consumer behaviors of visitors to OPA member sites in aggregate with portals and search engines and then broke down both comparisons into content categories, for example, sports, entertainment and news, using Nielsen Netratings' @Plan Summer 2006 index and MRI's Spring 2006 index.

According to the results, OPA member sites were about 20% more likely than portals to reach consumers shopping for vehicles. Advertisers were also more likely to find potential auto buyers on OPA sites that fell within the categories of autos, business and finance, health, entertainment and sports than on those same categories on portals. In the financial category, OPA sites were 30% more likely to deliver people to advertisers who had traded investments online in the last 20 days. And home, electronics and appliance buyers were 20% more likely to be found on OPA sites than search sites.

Deborah Wilson, president of the Weather Channel, which his an OPA member, said her company does similar research but that the goal of the aggregate research was to reach advertisers as they think about where to place their dollars.

More effective environment
"It's easier to place large dollars with large properties because it's one buy and you've got it," she said. "So the OPA really thinks about how we've got more medium-sized properties but a richer environment that makes it more effective. This research was meant to illustrate that point collectively."

The study also took a look at demographics, comparing the OPA audience to the general U.S. adult population, noting the OPA attracted visitors with a median household income of $74,000 -- 40% greater than the general audience.

Finally, it compared online video viewing across its sites to online video viewing across the portals, and it come out on top. It's worth noting, however, that since one major portal/search engine acquired YouTube last week, the tide has probably shifted in favor of the portals in this area.
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