“I don’t think the growth for us in terms of audience will be as dramatic as it has in the past,” Yates said. “A lot of our growth comes from frequency of use, and actually we’ve seen tremendous growth in that area over the past 18 months.”
To date, MarketWatch.com’s fifth-anniversary year has included a lot of highlights. In October, its announcement of EBITDA profitability (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) and continued positive cash flow in the company’s third quarter. It has also launched several special sections on the site, including “Capitalism’s Crossroads” focused on how American business is faring in the worst bear market since the Great Depression, “Scandal Sheet,” with online profiles featuring the latest updates on investigations of corporate wrongdoers.
On the paid content side, Yates wants to see the site continue to evolve toward more paid content opportunities, but promised that front page news and columnists would remain free of charge.
Through advertising VP Scot McLernon the site has been in the forefront of creative executions and broke the first ad campaign from Budweiser. New advertisers include non-financial clients such as Sprint, Absolut Vodka, Starbucks and Acura. Yates is happy with site takeovers, dark screen and other rich media that have made CBS Marketwatch so dot-com survivor. But she cautions that the Internet ad business should not stray far from the basics.
“I’m very respectful of the innovations that have taken place,” Yates said. “But we need to go back to our roots. What matters to an advertiser is all about the attention the ad commanded and the delivery of its message. I think we need very strong standards here.”