Jupiter: Ad Buyers Will Pay for Premium Inventory

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NEW YORK -- Sixty-four percent of online-advertising buyers would pay more money for placements they perceive as premium inventory, according to research released yesterday by Jupiter Media Metrix.


While publishers are struggling to sell most of their ad space, those that create premium-inventory opportunities that combine premium reach, premium branding and premium targeting will command the greatest return from advertisers, Jupiter concluded.


"Web publishers are struggling to sell their surplus of available inventory and are looking for new opportunities for developing premium inventory. However, most struggle to define and package premium-inventory opportunities effectively," said Patrick Keane, vice president and senior analyst, Jupiter Media Metrix, at the Jupiter Online Advertising Forum. "New creative formats, performance pricing and greater accountability will not turn the market around any time soon. Publishers should focus on selling the 30 percent of their inventory they can sell at a premium."


Other findings in the report include:


o Fifty-eight percent of media buyers are willing to pay more for premium inventory, and 6 percent are "very willing." Jupiter analysts believe that the 36 percent who are unwilling to pay more for premium inventory think they have more power to dictate cost than publishers do in the current economic climate.


o Advertisers bring a performance mentality to premium inventory. Nearly half (47 percent) of advertising buyers have expectations of higher return on investment when using premium positions, according to the Jupiter Executive Survey, while 27 percent seek exposure to a more targeted audience. The ability to capture e-mail addresses and the ability to provide contextual or advertorial content were both identified as priorities by 9 percent of ad-buying executives, respectively.


o While nearly 50 percent of sites support six or more creative ad units, premiums should be placed on media, not creative output. Creative opportunities are expanding rapidly, and publishers anxious to sell inventory are confronting advertisers with too many choices. Advertisers must better mine media-driven premium inventory.


"Publishers that 'supersize' and combine premium reach, premium branding and premium targeting will be able to exact significant premiums," Keane said. "However, sellers can't ignore standard inventory in favor of only selling premium inventory. Publishers need to follow the lead of companies who have successfully developed self-serve solutions for hard-to-move standard and performance-based media."


Jupiter analysts offered the following advice for publishers:


o Create self-serve solutions: Publishers have virtually unlimited inventory in undesirable areas, and the challenge is turning this tough-to-sell space into attractive real estate. Jupiter analysts cited solutions that allow prospective advertisers to bid on space as a successful self-serve method.


o Provide effectiveness case studies: Media sellers must offer advertisers clear and quantifiable metrics in all vertical categories. These case studies should be further delineated by direct response versus branding objective.


o Place premiums on media, not creative: Splashy creative and fat bandwidth will not solve the industry's problems. Premium inventory today is largely a function of creative unit size and placement -- while only the latter makes sense.


o "Supersize" premium inventory: It is not enough to attach a demographic or psychographic audience trend to general run-of-site inventory, according to Jupiter. Advertisers can afford to be more selective in this marketplace. Jupiter analysts cited premium inventory that combines unique ad delivery, branding value and contextual and database targeting as examples of supersized placements.


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