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New Web ad formats get modest response
Friday, March 08 2002
by Andrew McLindon

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Large on-line ad formats such as skyscrapers are beginning to make an impact, but their growth has not been as quick as anticipated, says a new study.

According to data from Jupiter Media Metrix's AdRelevance service, large ad formats -- consisting of skyscrapers, squares and rectangles, had a nine percent share of all on-line ad impressions in January 2002 up from four percent in April 2001.

However, the study did show that the number of large format ad impressions grew 185 percent over that same period from 2.0 billion to 5.7 billion. Backed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in March 2001, the formats were expected to rival the traditional banner ad format because of their perceived effectiveness in catching the attention of consumers.

"The past year has shown that while taking time to catch on, the IAB benefited on-line advertisers and publishers by recommending standards for larger formats," said Charles Buchwalter, vice president of media research, Jupiter Media Metrix. "Among the large formats, we're seeing most rapid growth among the skyscraper format, which increased in popularity by 436 percent between April 2001 and January 2002."

But, despite the new formats, the banner ad continues to dominate the on-line advertising sector with a 50 percent share during every month of the past year, according to Jupiter Media Metrix's study. It also showed that the number of banner ad impressions grew 39 percent from 23.6 billion impressions in April 2001 to 32.9 billion in January 2002.

The number of impressions for small-format ads -- consisting of all bars and buttons -- also increased, but not fast enough to maintain their standing compared to the other formats with faster growth rates.

The number of small ad impressions grew 15 percent between April 2001 and January 2001, from 20.6 billion impressions to 23.7 billion, but the small format's share among all ads declined from 46 percent to 38 percent over the same period. "It is doubtful that the demise of smaller ad formats is anywhere near on the horizon, but experimentation is moving in other directions," remarked Buchwalter.

Niamh O'Kennedy with Irish Internet advertising agency Adculture.net, told ElectricNews.Net that she had been surprised by the findings. "From our perspective, we find that large format ads, particularly skyscrapers, are much more effective than banner ads because advertisers get a better click thru rate," she said. Irish companies such as Bank of Ireland, Eircom and Toyota Ireland, as well as ElectricNews.Net, have all run skyscraper on-line ads recently.

However, she added that skyscrapers might not have taken off as quickly as anticipated because they can require sites to re-design their pages to accommodate the large-ad format. "More and more sites are preparing themselves to take such ads and I expect their use to increase rapidly over the coming months," commented O'Kennedy.

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