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Study: Net Advertising Focused on E-Commerce, Not Branding

Advertising on the Internet generally is narrowly focused on e-commerce, not on building strong off-line brands according to a new industry study.

The study, by The Strategis Group, entitled "Advertising on the Internet: 1999," found that the top three Web advertising categories -- computer goods, books and credit cards -- are all largely tied to e-commerce.

Ads from 13 of the Fortune 25 companies were not found on the top 50 Web sites, the study found, and many of America's leading brands, including Wal-Mart, Pepsi, Coke Classic, Burger King, Nabisco and Nike were absent from the top 50 Web sites.

The survey also found that 52 percent of Internet users had not clicked on any ad within the past week and 40 percent of those who had could not recall any Internet ad.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the study also found that advanced advertising techniques, such as interstitials and rich media rich ads are still not used on most sites.

The Strategis Net Presence Survey, part of the larger Advertising on the Internet: 1999 study, included 6,972 ads on 50 top Web sites. Each ad was logged into a database based on its visibility to calculate the "Net Presence" of over 700 top Internet advertisers in 39 separate categories. Net Presence is a composite measure of Internet advertising visibility.

E-commerce leader Amazon.com garnered the highest Net Presence rating at 57.6, but most Internet advertisers have a Net Presence below 2, the study found.

The Internet's Most Visible Advertisers, Ranked by Net Presence:

Internet's Most Visible Advertisers
Rank Advertiser Category Net Presence
1. Amazon Books 57.6
2. Barnes & Noble Books 56.1
3. Microsoft Computer/Portal 42.0
4. NextCard Visa Credit Cards 39.2
5. CDnow.com Music 35.1
6. First USA Credit Cards 26.5
7. 1-800-Flowers Flowers 25.6
8. eBay Auction sites 25.0
9. Enews Gen. Merchandise 16.8
10. Network Solutions Site Services 16.7
11. Lowestfare Travel 16.5
12. Onsale Computer 14.5
13. Visa Credit Cards 13.1
14. Sun Microsystems Computer 12.8
15. General Motors Autos 12.7
Source: The Strategis Group, Inc.

"Internet advertising is still in its infancy," said Jeff Moore, Internet consultant with The Strategis Group. "Advertising for consumer brands like food products and personal care products was no more prominent than advertising for online casinos. This will change dramatically as high-speed access gains ground and the ability to target consumers becomes more refined."

The Strategis Group publishes in-depth market research reports, provides customized consulting services and supplies continuous information solutions to the Internet, cable TV, satellite, telephony, broadband and wireless communications industries.