The Best Online Publishers: iVillage

This early leader forged an emotional bond with its audience and specializes in custom promotions featuring original content. iVillage succeeds because it’s solutions-oriented. “Our original content provides solutions for women for every aspect of their lives: parenting, health, money and finance, diet and fitness, beauty, and recipes,” says Vanessa Barfield, senior vice president of sales. “Anything to make their life better.”

The company specializes in working with advertisers to develop original content for iVillage. “They want us to design the creative or consult with them to design it to get stronger response,” she says.

Barfield says the home page isn’t the key page for advertising. Instead, the ads are put in relevant areas of interest. Much of the advertising isn’t banners or any other standard unit. IVillage specializes in custom promotions, especially sweepstakes, which it has run for Almay (New Leaf sweeps) and Clairol (Beauty sweeps). The sweeps run on microsites, or bridge sites, as iVillage calls them. The sweeps are a popular interactive device as well as a strong branding tool for advertisers.



The site also inserts advertising in popular areas, such as the Send to a Friend email program. The program allows visitors to email anything they find on the site to their friends. As the email is sent, a large 336 x 280 pixel ad unit pops up. Then, when the friend opens the email, the same pop up appears, doubling the impressions for advertisers.

Another popular feature of the site is quizzes, which also lend themselves to sponsorship. A microsite called Interquizzal runs the quizzes. “How much do you know about your car?” was one quiz, which Barfield says was sponsored by auto and tire companies. The quizzes are promoted on the home page.

The site also sends out advertiser products to frequent visitors it calls community leaders, who comment on the products on the site. Barfield says, “They love to share their ideas and thoughts,” which become testimonials for the advertisers.

A survey participant notes that iVillage is “a very targeted place for package goods. Package goods brands have had great success on their site.” Barfield says package goods advertising is popular because the products are ideal for women, the site’s demographic. Kimberly-Clark’s Huggies is its biggest current advertised product. Clairol, Revlon, Unilever, and Proctor & Gamble are some of the other major package goods advertisers.

Unique audience: 4 million Time per person: 10 minutes 2001 ad revenue, through Sept: $10 million

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