Study Finds Growth in Newest Online Ad Sizes

Larger online ad units introduced last spring by the Interactive Advertising Bureau are continuing to gain traction despite a slow start, according to findings from Web researcher Jupiter Media Metrix.

A year after the New York-based IAB introduced the standardized skyscraper ad, the so-called “medium rectangle” and “large rectangle,” Jupiter said the new formats now comprise about 9 percent of all online ad placements.

That’s more than double the 4 percent industry adoption that Jupiter’s AdRelevance unit uncovered a month after the unit’s introduction, in April 2001.

In terms of impressions, Jupiter said large-format ads saw a 185 percent increase in impressions, from 2.0 billion to 5.7 billion, during the same period — suggesting that not only are more publishers using the format, but that they’re placing the ads in high-trafficked areas of the site.

That makes sense, since the largeness of the units (and their related suitability for TV-like rich media) often commands higher fees from advertisers.

“The past year has shown that while taking time to catch on, the IAB benefited online advertisers and publishers by recommending standards for larger formats,” said Charles Buchwalter, vice president of media research at Jupiter.

Among the large ad types, skyscrapers seem to be growing the most quickly, increasing 436 percent since April. One reason for this could be the relative ease with which they are integrated into site content: replacing the narrow “vertical banner” comes more easily to publishers than ceding a large, continuous chunk of online real estate to a rectangle.

Despite large formats’ growth, the banner ad continues to dominate the online ad scene, making up about half of all online ad placements. Banner impressions grew 39 percent, from 23.6 billion impressions to 32.9 billion.

Smaller ads, such as buttons and bars, also saw a 15 percent growth rate in impressions (from 20.6 billion to 23.7 billion.) However, the smaller formats’ collective share among all online ads dropped from 46 percent to 38 percent.

“It is doubtful that the demise of smaller ad formats is anywhere near on the horizon, but experimentation is moving in other directions,” Buchwalter said.

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