eDiets.com Ups The Ante on MSN
eDiets.com is a major online advertiser, responsible for 95.7% of the health weight loss advertiser impressions in June, according to Nielsen//NetRatings AdRelevance data. Ron Caporale, the company's executive vice president of business development, says the company advertises on a number of portals and second tier sites, including Yahoo, AOL, Lycos, WebMD and iVillage. He says the company spends $3 to $5 million at Yahoo!
In fact, AdRelevance data shows that 81% of the company's impressions are now on Yahoo, with only 8% at MSN, but eDiets is shifting more of its budget to MSN because it is "more focused on integrating our product to reach our user base," Caporale says. "There are more directions to go so we decided to make a bigger commitment."
MSN integrates the product by providing micro sites at different areas of its site, including WomenCentral and MSNBC. Visitors to those areas will see a small eDiets site that will feature six pages of eDiets content. MSN is also providing content modules, small banner ads with three rotating text links that take visitors to areas of the eDiets site for different kinds of information, such as health tips or healthy recipes.
Caporale says other sites don't provide the same kind of integration opportunities. "It's more difficult to do that, other sites are less receptive," he says. "MSN said let's figure out all the creative ways we can get there. It's much more than a traditional advertising deal, it's more of a partnership."
eDiets has advertised at MSN on a smaller scale for a year and a half, with banners and buttons on a few sites, according to Christine Andrews, MSN's product manager. They are upping the ante now, with a one-year deal that starts in August.
The campaign is part of a multimedia effort that is 90% Web-based, according to Caporale, but also includes TV, which the company is testing now, with print and direct mail planned.
The company charges dieters $35 to join. Then they pay a $10 monthly fee that gives them a personalized meal plan and access to a community of diet professionals and other dieters they can chat and buddy with. Caporale wouldn't say how many eDiets.com members there are, except to say the number is huge. "The Web is recognized as a better platform for weight loss than the offline world," he says. "We bring all the support online 24/7. You can attend a weight watchers meeting through eDiets at 10:00 after putting the kids to bed instead of driving across town. You get the best of the offline model and enhance it online with a lot more personalization.
"The market is strong, but we're not resting on our laurels," he says, which explains the big deal with MSN.