Ad effectiveness on content sites outranks ad networks and portals, according to study

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Advertising placed through ad networks and portals generated the smallest change for branding metrics, and in some cases made no difference for advertisers, according to findings of a study released August 13 by the Online Publishers Association, a trade organization for publishers such as ABCNews.com, CNN, CondeNet, Time Inc. and The Wall Street Journal.

“Not all inventory is created equal,” said Pam Horan, president of OPA. “Different environments produce different types of results.”

Ad effectiveness scores on member content sites were numerically higher than scores for ads placed on portals or ad networks. It is worth noting the findings are based on independent data. Dynamic Logic's MarketNorms ad effectiveness data includes a global database of nearly 5,000 campaigns and more than seven million survey respondents.

MarketNorms calculates the average performance of all online campaigns measured in the last three years on branded content sites, portals and ad networks. The report, “Improving Ad Performance Online” is the third in a series of OPA reports that leverage Dynamic Logic's data.

The findings show that ads on OPA member sites consistently had significant effectiveness in raising awareness, creating message association, generating brand favorability and driving purchase intent over portals, ad networks and the overall MarketNorms average.

In addition, online ad awareness metrics were 21% greater for ads on content sites than portals, and 50% more than ad networks; and purchase intent was about two-thirds higher on content sites than portals, and nine times that of ad networks.

Video ads on content sites represented by OPA members have the greatest impact: purchase intent was 163% higher than overall MarketNorms data and 93% more than portals.

Earlier studies (August 2008 and January 2009) measured the same data, looking at effectiveness scores for original content sites against those for overall MarketNorms, portals and ad networks. Ad networks' first quarter 2008 purchase intent delta was so low that even when it doubled in Q1 2009, it remained statistically insignificant; Q1 2009 brand favorability is less than half of the industry average (0.6 vs. 1.5).

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