Financial Services Remains Biggest Online Ad Category

Financial services companies were once again the largest buyer of online branding advertising last month, with ads for offerings such as investment advice, credit assistance, and loans accounting for 20.6 percent of the 82.7 billion ads served on a cost-per-thousand impression basis on the Web last month, according to data from Nielsen//NetRatings' AdRelevance unit. That share was comparable to January, when financial services companies represented 19.2 percent of online branding ads.

Other industries to purchase significant online advertising last month included Web media, accounting for 17.9 percent of branding impressions served; retail goods and services, representing 14.1 percent; telecommunications, responsible for 9.2 percent; and travel, accounting for 6.5 percent.

Sellers of hardware and electronics--computers, televisions, digital recording devices, and the like--accounted for approximately 3 billion impressions, or 3.6 percent of last month's ads, which was nearly the same as their 3.4 percent share from February 2004.



But within that category, there were some significant changes among advertisers. The Toshiba Corporation last month accounted for 9.9 percent of all online branding ads by hardware and electronics advertisers--marking a nearly 50-fold increase in share from February 2004, when it was responsible for just .2 percent of all online hardware and electronics branding ads.

Other hardware and electronics marketers to increase their online ad presence included Apple Computer--which accounted for 3.4 percent of online branding ads for hardware and electronics last month, compared to none the year before--and Archos, which represented 2.5 percent of Internet ads for hardware and electronics last month, also compared to none the year before.

Dell Computer Corporation once again had the most online ads among hardware and electronics sellers, with 55 percent of the ads in that category, up from 48.5 percent the year before. The second biggest advertiser in the field was Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., which had 11.8 percent of ads in the genre, down from 14.5 percent in February 2004.

Where did marketers place their Web ads? Sites devoted to e-mail garnered 20.7 percent of impressions, followed by portals (16.6 percent), general and national news sites (10.7 percent), and finance sites (7.5 percent). Specifically, Yahoo! Mail garnered 8.3 percent of branding impressions, followed by MSN Hotmail (7.6 percent), Yahoo! Finance (4 percent), Yahoo! Homepage (3.6 percent), and myspace (3.4 percent).

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