Top Traditional Advertisers Increase Share of Online Ads

  • by March 20, 2003
Nielsen//NetRatings reports that the top 100 traditional advertisers increased their share of online advertising and are leading the way for bolstering the online medium. The top traditional advertisers comprised more than 30% of the online advertising market by the end of 2002, as measured by ad impressions, climbing upwards since January 2000 when the group's market share made up just 15%. Integrating online advertising in their overall campaigns, top traditional advertisers are embracing the Web as an important channel to get their message across.

Among the top traditional advertisers, AOL Time Warner boosted their online advertising presence by employing 28% more unique ads since 2001, with the launch of AOL 8.0. Microsoft increased their use of online advertising by nine percent with their push of rival product MSN 8. Promoting brands including Volvo, Hertz and Mazda, Ford Motor Company's online ads jumped by 34%, primarily in Q4. Disney's promotion of ESPN The Magazine, ABC's Alias and Disney Cruise lines increased their online presence by 28%. Other big growth rates came from DaimlerChrysler whose online presence skyrocketed by an astonishing 407 percent over 2001.

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"No longer dominated by the smaller dot-com companies, traditional business-model advertisers are staking their claim," said Charles Buchwalter, vice president of client analytics, Nielsen//NetRatings. "This increased usage by the heavy hitters of advertising clearly signals their recognition of the validity of the Internet as an effective ad medium."

Traditional Advertisers Set the Pace for Using New Ad Formats

Traditional advertisers are also more apt to experiment with different ad formats, according to Nielsen//NetRatings AdRelevance. In 2002, the top 100 traditional advertisers relied heavily on non-standard larger ad dimensions with 92 companies out of the 100 using the full banner format. Eighty companies employed non-standard, large size banners in their campaigns, while 87 of the top 100 advertisers used the skyscraper format.

Additionally, advertising technologies such as flash and rich media have been garnering support over the last few years. Eleven percent of all impressions served by the top 100 traditional advertisers utilized Flash technology. While the eleven percent may seem small, 82 of the top 100 traditional advertisers employed Flash technology in their campaigns. The rich media Eyeblaster was also popular amongst traditional advertisers. Forty advertisers used the technology in the fourth quarter of 2002.

"The adoption of rich media advertising provides advertisers the ability to transfer their television, print and radio campaigns to the desktop," continued Buchwalter.

Top Online Ad Formats* Used by Top 100 Traditional Advertisers


Ad Format Percent Share Number of
of Selected Top 100
Advertisers' Advertisers
Impressions (%)
1 Full Banner 29 92
2 Large Size 16 80
3 Half Banner 10 84
4 Rectangle 10 68
5 Medium Rectangle 9 79
6 Skyscraper 8 87
7 Vertical Banner 4 82
8 Wide Skyscraper 3 73
9 Large Rectangle 3 66
10 Vertical Rectangle 2 58
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings, Q4 2002
* Excludes small ad formats such as Micro Bars and Buttons.
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