Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More Web Ads Improve Their Aim

February 5, 2009: The Wall Street Journal -- As marketers scale back their budgets, some new technologies that make it easier for marketers to track the impact of their online advertising are gaining ground.

Products based on these technologies -- such as customized ads that show different products to different users, Web ads hidden inside links in text, and online coupons -- are part of what is called "performance-driven advertising." That's because the products aim to improve and more precisely measure how a particular ad performs.

Companies like Choicestream, Yahoo and Teracent hope to steal some thunder from search advertising, which remains one of the biggest and fastest-growing ad formats. Since search ads are related to what a person is searching for on the Web, consumers often find them more relevant than other ads, and advertisers typically find them more cost effective.

But as budgets tighten, other formats that can prove they are worth their price are gaining momentum too. Coupons Inc., which makes software to help companies create and distribute online coupons, is among the companies that are benefiting. It has seen a recent surge in interest from advertisers looking for more cost-effective online marketing options, says CEO Steven Boal. Mr. Boal says the company expects to issue $1 billion in coupons this year, up from $300 million last year, and is drawing new customers who appreciate that they pay for the service only when a consumer prints out a coupon.

The new ad formats are winning over some big marketers. Over the past year, auto maker Chrysler, whose brands include Dodge and Jeep, has shifted its online-ad spending away from lifestyle sites to sites, such as Edmunds.com, that are geared toward consumers who are in the market for a car, as well as toward performance-driven products like Vibrant's in-text ads. Chrysler is also continuing to spend on search ads, says Chuck Sullivan, director of interactive at Chrysler.

"The good news about the performance-based media is that it's very easy to track, and we are able to see what works and what doesn't work," Mr. Sullivan says.

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/c36scn

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