Where the Real Money Is Going in Online Advertising

Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo Top the List

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For all the hand-wringing over automated ad buying systems and mobile devaluing publishers' real estate, a number of online properties can still fetch top dollar.

The below premium placements, sourced from media buyers and sellers, span the tried and traditional to the new and so-called "native," but industry executives identified one commonality across all cited: the ability to attract sizeable audiences and justify substantial spending.


Combine online's most lucrative content type, video, and one of its most attractive properties, Facebook, and it's little surprise the site is seeking 7-figure sums -- $1 million up to $2.4 million a day -- for its upcoming in-feed video ads. That's roughly double what Facebook currently receives for its version of the home page takeover that lets brands advertise reach an entire audience segment for $500,000 to $700,000 a day.


Google's video site attracts nearly as many unique visitors each month as Facebook and has been able to translate that into similar ad rates. Advertising on YouTube's home page during holidays costs about $500,000 and includes an additional $100,000 commitment; a couple years ago that package ran around $150,000. However the real money resides closer to the content. To be the first preroll ad that plays when someone visits a video's watch page, advertisers must ante up a similar amount to the home-page package. Channel sponsorships start at around $1 million.


Yahoo continues to garner among the web's largest audiences, which is why the portal that's considered a comeback story is able to pull $450,000 to $700,000 for each daylong home page takeover. For comparison's sake, a standard banner on Yahoo News main page costs $120,000 a day.


AOL isn't as big as Yahoo, and the price of its home-page ad reflects that. The banner runs around $275,000 to $300,000 per day, though it can be had for $150,000 during fire sales.


Last year Forbes called ESPN "the world's most valuable media property." The Disney-owned company owes much of that acclaim to its TV network, but a standard box banner on the sports site's home page merits $200,000 to $300,000 a day.


Twitter's Promoted Tweets may get all the attention for popping up in users' streams, but the social network's priciest ad product sits on the side. Twitter limits Promoted Trends to one a day, and that scarcity allows it to charge $200,000 for each advertiser.

The New York Times

The paper of record notches $120,000 each weekday for the pushdown ads overtaking its home page.

Vice Media

The New York Times' polar opposite, the rowdy Vice Media, pulls $75,000 per day for the pushdown ads overtaking its home page


Yahoo could get a return on its $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr by upping the number of ads running in users' feeds. The unit has only been in market for a couple months but fetches roughly $20,000 per advertiser a day as part of a $200,000 commitment.


Forbes' welcome ad that displays the first time someone navigates to the business publication's site looks simple. But a Forbes spokesperson said the unit, which is capped to pop up only once a day to each unique visitor, fetches $75 to $100 per every thousand visitors (Forbes.com receives 650,000 unique visitors a day, including 500,000 in the U.S.).


The video ad company charges advertisers $20,000 to $100,000 per month to run video ads personalized to each person they are served to -- the ads actually speak an individual's name and can include other personal information like where they live, provided that data is already available to the advertiser-- though advertisers have to pony up anywhere from an extra $10,000 to more than nine figures for celebrity spokespeople like country band Lady Antebellum or Nascar driver Kyle Busch to parse each branded greeting ("Hi John Doe, let me tell you about [insert brand]").

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