Traditional portals, such as Yahoo and AOL, stayed weak on display ad business, while new players, such as YouTube and Amazon stays strong, according to a new study by Macquarie Research, tracking home-page advertising on the major Web portals, Media Post reported.
The study found that Yahoo’s display still underperformed – the use of oversized/custom ad units, which command premium CPMs, dropped to 26 percent of days in the last quarter of 2011, from 32 percent in the previous quarter and 34 percent one year ago. Standard rich media formats comprised the biggest chunk of Yahoo’s home-page ads (44 percent), while regular display ads made up another 30 percent.
Even though Yahoo’s home page sold out a strong 75 percent days in the fourth quarter, the site’s “poor home-page monetization on the key holiday shopping days right around Christmas” is the main concern, said Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter.
AOL had its oversized/custom ads on the home page down to 28 percent of days, compared to 40 percent one year ago. And they didn’t include any of the Project Devil units, which the web site launched last year to help regain momentum in the display category.
While old-line portals continue to lose ground, new rivals and technologies stand out. “We believe that YouTube, Facebook, and increasing mobile Internet access are negatively impacting the position of traditional portal homepages (a theme we expect to continue into 2012),” according to Schachter.
YouTube’s oversized masthead unit sold out 90 percent of days in the last quarter, and the proportion of days with tandem masthead or expandable ads grew to 16 percent from 13 percent in the third quarter and 2 percent in the first quarter. 55 percent of YouTube’s home page ads come from the media industry, which makes the site vulnerable to a dramatic downturn in spending in that sector.
Macquarie just began tracking Amazon in the fourth quarter because the company plans to ramp up its display ad business. Therefore, the type of high-impact brand advertising which other main portals are familiar with is still scarce on Amazon’s home page.
CPG was the most pervasive ad category on the retailer’s site, which made up about 1 quarter of placements, followed by financial services, at 22 percent. Media accounted for 20 percent.
In general, 43 percent of the home-page ads tracked across Yahoo, AOL, MSN, and YouTube were oversized/custom ad units, up from 35 percent in the third quarter, but lower than the 50-percent level one year ago, Media Post reported.