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New Research Shows Advertising on Ad Networks Provides Smallest Change For Advertisers

August 13, 2009 | By Research Team—DCN

OPA Members’ High-Quality Content Environments Raise Awareness, Message Association, Brand Favorability and Purchase Intent More than Portals and Ad Networks

New York, NY — August 13, 2009 — When compared against the Online Publishers Association (OPA) member sites, ads placed through ad networks and portals generated the smallest change for branding metrics, and in some cases made no difference for advertisers. This is one of the key findings from a new report released today by the OPA. Additionally, the research found that advertising effectiveness scores on these original, quality content sites were numerically higher than scores for ads placed on portals or ad networks and the industry as represented by MarketNorms®.

The new report, “Improving Ad Performance Online” is the third in a series of OPA reports that leverage independent Dynamic Logic’s MarketNorms® data for measuring online advertising’s effectiveness and branding impact.

“Ad network performance has continued to trend downward, with this wave of research showing collectively that ad networks provide advertisers with no increase on purchase intent,” said Pam Horan, president of the OPA. “In other words, brands see a flat line on purchase intent if they do not advertise versus if they advertise on advertising networks. Conversely, the data also shows that overall online ad effectiveness as represented by MarketNorms is trending down, while ad effectiveness continues to increase on quality content sites, as represented by the OPA members.”

“Using data to make informed decisions is increasingly important in this economic climate,” said Ken Mallon, SVP Custom Solutions, Dynamic Logic. “With our MarketNorms database, the OPA has brought a large amount of data to bear on the question of advertising effectiveness and the role environment can play.”


The findings show that ads on these high quality OPA member sites consistently had significant effectiveness in raising awareness, creating message association, generating brand favorability and driving purchase intent over portals, ad networks and the overall MarketNorms® average. In addition:

  • Ad networks were shown to provide advertisers with the smallest change in ad effectiveness — including no change in purchase intent;
  • Online ad awareness metrics were 21 percent greater for ads on content sites than overall MarketNorms and portals, and 50 percent more than ad networks;
  • Purchase intent was about two-thirds higher on content sites than portals, nine times that of ad networks and 50 percent greater than overall MarketNorms;
  • Video ads on content sites represented by OPA members have the greatest impact: Purchase intent was 163 percent higher than overall MarketNorms and 93 percent more than portals


The current report offers additional analysis on ad effectiveness by demographics, product category and online ad unit sizes, including:

  • Purchase intent metrics for 18-34 year olds were 77 percent greater on OPA sites than portals and negative for those who were exposed on ad networks.
  • Advertising awareness for categories such as auto, CPG, entertainment, financial services, telecom and travel was significantly higher on content sites than overall MarketNorms (+47 percent, +27 percent, +16 percent, +25 percent, +36 percent, +47 percent, respectively);
  • The most popular ad sizes are leaderboards, medium rectangles and wide skyscrapers. Generally these sizes perform better on quality content sites. For example, ad awareness for these ad units was significantly greater on content sites than overall MarketNorms and ad networks

In addition, current study results were compared against two prior OPA studies (August 2008 and January 2009), which looked at effectiveness scores for original content sites, as compared with those for overall MarketNorms, portals and ad networks. Key findings from those comparisons included the following:

  • Ad networks’ 1Q 2008 purchase intent delta was so low that even when it doubled in 1Q 2009 it remained statistically insignificant; 1Q 2009 brand favorability is less than half of the industry average (0.6 vs. 1.5).

Horan continued, “In every aspect of the life of a brand, a quality content environment matters; and the same is true for effective online ad placement . High-quality content sites help advertisers move the needle.”

To download the report, please click here.

About Dynamic Logic’s MarketNorms®

Dynamic Logic’s MarketNorms® is a marketing effectiveness database of 4,882+ campaigns across more than a dozen industries collected from over 7 million surveys worldwide. The results cited have not been adjusted for exposure frequency, demographics, ad size, websites, advertiser industry and other factors that may contribute to brand impact. These findings are aggregate in nature, reflect past results and are not a guarantee of future results for individual campaigns. The data in this report referred to as overall MarketNorms refers to the average performance of all online campaigns measured by Dynamic Logic in the last 3 years, including those on branded content sites, portals and ad networks. www.marketnorms.com

About the OPA

Founded in June 2001, the Online Publishers Association is an industry trade organization whose mission is to advance the interests of high quality online publishers before the advertising community, the press, the government and the public. Members of OPA represent the standards in Internet publishing with respect to editorial quality and integrity, credibility and accountability. OPA member sites have a combined, unduplicated reach of 149.3 million visitors, or 79% percent of the total U.S. Internet audience (Source: comScore Media Metrix, August 2008 combined home/work/university data). For more information, go to www.online-publishers.org.