Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Financial Firms Lead Web Ads, for Now

JANUARY 22, 2008

Some ad inventory could be up for grabs.

The most recent available online ad spending data may not be recent enough.

December 2007 data from Nielsen Online AdRelevance cited in a January 2008 MarketingCharts article show the financial services industry still leading online display advertising.

Nielsen found that financial services companies spent over a quarter of a billion dollars on online ads in December 2007, accounting for 29% of all online ad spending.

Yet major financial services industry and national economic trends make it risky to read these numbers as indicative of how online advertising will develop for the rest of the year.

For starters, Bank of America's acquisition of Countrywide Mortgage may well mean a pullback in that company's online display ads. Countrywide was one of the top buyers of online CPM-priced display ads in 2007.

Home prices may also take an ongoing hit. The Wall Street Journal's October 2007 "Economic Forecasting Survey" polled 60 economists, who predicted a decline in US home prices of 1.26% in 2007 and 2.55% in 2008. According to the report, home prices have never before declined two years in a row.

In eMarketer's July 2007 projections, financial services online ad spending reached into the billions, and the industry's spending represented about 15% of the annual Internet total.

US economic prospects are also worse than they were even in November, when December ad spending decisions were made.

Financial services industry dominance of online ad spending is clearly in question for 2008.

"The December 2007 industry online ad spending data are something of a last gasp," said David Hallerman, senior analyst at eMarketer. "Those ads were contracted last fall, and the outlook has changed considerably since then."

Get the big picture for ad spending in 2008. Read eMarketer's US Advertising Spending report.

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