Online Ads Make a Hot Site

Share this content:
Advertising for electronic tax filing was a boon for the Internal Revenue Service, according to a report released today by Media Metrix's AdRelevance tracking division.

A 6 million-impression campaign on Yahoo, Talk City and helped traffic on jump 182 percent this tax season.

"It's got to be a source of great satisfaction to the government because whatever strategy they put in place has really worked," said Charlie Buchwalter, vice president of media research at Seattle-based AdRelevance.

While traffic on has spiked, the number of unique visitors to the U.S. Department of the Treasury's site plunged 46 percent during this tax period. Part of the Treasury department, the site in its present form allows taxpayers to file taxes on the site itself.

"In years past, it was the Treasury site that most people went to, and as the site has become so much more user friendly, so much more customer-centered by that definition, customers or taxpayers have just reversed their traffic patterns from a more global Treasury site to the more focused," Buchwalter said.

According to AdRelevance records for the monitored period of December 1999 through February, Yahoo accounted for 58 percent of the ad impressions bought by the IRS. Talk City chipped in with 30 percent, and 12 percent.

Unique visitors at during this period rose to 7.5 million, up from 2.7 million visitors during December 1998 through February 1999.

To make the online filing quicker and easier for taxpayers, the IRS has partnered with other for-profit tax-filing sites. directs online visitors to use tax software from these sites.

Of these private-sector sites, Intuit's TurboTax takes top spot, AdRelevance said. TurboTax's traffic during this tax season rose 122 percent to 4.2 million unique visitors, followed by, which was up 32 percent to 2.1 million visitors. A new entrant to online filing, recorded close to 1 million visitors.

Visitor traffic on other government agency sites such as was up 18 percent, followed by, where traffic was down sharply.

AdRelevance's Buchwalter said this indicates that a growing number of people want to file taxes online and take advantage of the efficiencies and productivity inherent in Web-based interfaces.

From another perspective, the IRS' success with online ads might embolden other government agencies to follow suit, he pointed out.

"Isn't it interesting that an agency of the U.S. government has some varied advertising online and has tried a very innovative way to meet their audiences," Buchwalter said.

"Okay, they didn't choose to advertise widely, but they chose three sites that received significant amount of traffic, and we think it's the beginning of a trend. More and more agencies are going to be looking at this experience and say, 'We want to try this also.'"

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Since 1985, Melissa has helped thousands of companies clean, correct and complete contact data to better target and communicate with their customers. We offer a full spectrum of data quality solutions, including global address, phone, email, and name validation, identify verification - available for batch or real-time processes, in the Cloud or on-premise. Our service bureau provides dedupe, email/phone append and geographic/demographic append services for better targeting and insight. For direct mailers, Melissa offers easy-to-use address management/postal software, list hygiene services and 100s of specialty mailing lists - all with competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above