CAMPAIGN INTERACTIVE: INTERNET ADWATCH - Every month, Campaign with the help of Fletcher Research, will look at the top online spenders and the top ten in a specific sector. John Owen reports

IBM was the biggest spending online advertiser in March, according to Fletcher Research’s AdWatch study, which Campaign will exclusively reveal each month.

IBM was the biggest spending online advertiser in March, according

to Fletcher Research’s AdWatch study, which Campaign will exclusively

reveal each month.



The IT sector once again dominated the top ten. Seven of the advertisers

featured this month are computer companies.



Paul Simon, the managing director of the sales house, TSMSi, is

surprised , but says: ’In the bookings we’ve taken in April and May,

there’s a much wider spread.’ In particular, Simon points to the motor

market, travel com-panies and media owners.



Nevertheless, the figures for March bear testament to the fact that most

of these companies have so far seen fit to pour the majority of their

online budgets into Website production. Even those now advertising are

mostly using banners simply to direct traffic to their Website -

although Simon singles out Nissan and Toyota as companies whose ads not

only build audiences on their own sites but also perform a branding

function.



Overall, adspend on the Internet in March came to pounds 1,160,000. If

that were to be the consistent monthly expenditure across a full year,

it would mean an annual spend of nearly pounds 14 million. The top ten

advertisers accounted for 29 per cent of expenditure.



While computing was inevitably the top-spending sector, financial

services companies have also been relatively quick to catch on to the

benefits of advertising on the Web. It was the second highest spending

sector, with its top ten contributing pounds 122,000 to Web publishers’

coffers in March.



Fidelity Investments, fifth in the overall top ten for March, led the

way with a pounds 30,000 spend. Legal & General, the second highest

spending financial services company, invested more than pounds 10,000

less, but spread its ads across more sites. Global Asset Management, in

third place, used only one site, ft.com. But MBO Advisary Partners

(NetPEP) spread its pounds 6,000 over the largest number of sites of

anyone in the top ten.



The contrasting strategies highlight the stark choice these advertisers

and their media agencies face when trying to make the most of such small

budgets. You can either spend the lot on a very few relatively

expensive, high traffic, branded sites, or you can get more exposure -

but not necessarily more coverage - by using a wider selection of

second-tier sites.



There’s another interesting divergence in strategy, too, between the IT

and financial service sector advertisers. Where the IT companies pour

most of their money into news and navigation sites, the financial

services companies tend to use specialist finance sites for the bulk of

their spend.



News sites are also popular but the navigation sites don’t get much of a

look-in.





TOP 10 UK ADVERTISERS

Rank   Advertiser                 Estimated Value*

                                     (pounds 000s)

1     IBM                                pounds 61

2     Hewlett Packard                    pounds 59

3     Dell Computer Corporation          pounds 34

4     Mitsubishi Electric                pounds 31

5     Fidelity Investments               pounds 30

6     News Corporation                   pounds 26

7=    LineOne                            pounds 25

7=    Intel Corporation                  pounds 25

9     3 Com                              pounds 24

10    Gateway 2000 Europe                pounds 22

TOP 10 UK FINANCIAL ADVERTISERS

Rank   Advertiser                 Estimated Value*

                                     (pounds 000s)

1     Fidelity Investments               pounds 30

2     Legal & General                    pounds 19

3     Global Asset Management            pounds 18

4=    Abbey National                      pounds 9

4=    Robert Fleming (S&P)                pounds 9

4=    Paragon Group                       pounds 9

7=    Bradford & Bingley                  pounds 8

7=    Mercury Asset Management            pounds 8

9=    Royal & SunAlliance                 pounds 6

9=    MBO Advisory Partners               pounds 6

- Internet Adwatch values estimated using ratecard-equivalent prices.

Estimates do not take into account publishers’ discounts. Excludes

advertising and adverts placed with barter networks(eg LinkExchange)

Data supplied from Internet AdWatch(tm), the advertising monitor

produced by Fletcher Research (www.fletch.co.uk, 0800-068 1101)



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