One of the first advertisers to take advantage of a service that has taken 18 months to build is Nynex, which is advertising its ISDN high-speed data line in a two-month campaign on the site.
GATHERING USER DATA
Since its launch, The New York Times daily news Web site has required users to register, asking for basic information such as gender, age, income and address.
Now it plans to make its user database available to advertisers, giving them an opportunity to target messages to geographic zones such as ZIP codes, or even down to specific users.
Every time registrants come to the site, the Times tracks where they go, what ads they click on and what messages they are responding to. Advertisers are given a real-time report online of who is viewing their ads, when they are seeing them and what messages they are responding to.
"That's a very, very strong program, one that advertisers will really like," said Peter Storck, group director-online advertising for Jupiter Communications.
"This is the advantage that a publisher gains when it requires registration and sticks with it and enforces it. If they have those data, they can get more money for that targeted advertising," Mr. Storck added.
The Times is adding a 25% premium to regular rate card prices for the first filter an advertiser puts on an ad, and a 5% premium for any additional filters. That means if an advertiser wants to reach women only, it would use one filter.
But if it wants to reach women, ages 25 to 44, with a household income of more than $50,000, it would require three filters.
The Times' rate card starts at a $40 cost per thousand for 500,000 impressions, and goes to a $22 CPM for 7 million impressions.
For Nynex, the Times Web site fits the criteria of the phone company's campaign.
"Their objective was that the campaign had to have a regional buy or it would be wasted," said Ami Goodhart, media director at K2 Design, which placed the buy. "There are different ways of targeting, but with The New York Times registered base, we were able to target the banners and know 100% that they are reaching the correct people."
The Nynex banner ads, which started running last week, are targeted to New York and Massachusetts users in ZIP codes where the ISDN service is available.
Nynex is tracking which users click through which banner ads before they reach the screen where a form can be filled out to request information on the service. Nynex is also closing the loop with its own database to see which users actually follow through and order the ISDN service, said Mr. Goodhart. Other Web sites running the Nynex ISDN campaign include Progressive Networks and Netcom, he said.
"The concept isn't new. Personalization is a very hot topic now," said Melissa Bane, senior analyst at the Yankee Group.
"But for a site on the scale of the Times to do this, it's a pretty big step, actually making use of personalized information," she said, adding that one-on-one marketing is "the Holy Grail for advertisers, that is exactly what they want."