Fortune 500 online ads up

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New York--More than half of the Fortune 500 companies launched online advertising campaigns in the fourth quarter, according to a study released Monday by Nielsen//NetRatings, which measures digital media.

The study said a total of 286 Fortune 500 advertisers launched an online advertising campaign, compared with 270 in the year-earlier quarter.

There was a 6% increase for the full year of 2002 compared with 2001.

Several b-to-b companies ranked in the top 10 Fortune 500 online advertisers for the fourth quarter, including SBC Communications Inc., ranked No. 4; Dell Computer Corp., No. 6; and Hewlett-Packard Co., No. 7. Inc. ranked first.

"Fortune 500 advertising has grown steadily in the past year, as large traditional advertisers are discovering how the online medium can be used to reach desirable target audiences," said Charles Buchwalter, VP-client analytics for Nielsen//NetRatings, in a statement. "The stage is set for the Web's share of these companies' marketing budgets to increase throughout 2003."

--Matthew Schwartz

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