The advent of the World Wide Web as a giant retail mechanism brought with it a means to reach consumers all over the world. However, as with all communication media when they are young, it takes time for an effective advertising vehicle to evolve.
In the Internet space that time has arrived with the beta launch of a product called InPage.
InPage is a solution that promises to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Internet-based advertising.
Grant Jackson, CEO of InPage Incorporated says InPage differentiates from traditional forms of banner advertising with the ability to display ads between pages and make use of dead bandwidth. When you visit a website there is always dead time while you are reading. InPage uses that time to download the next advert. Then, when you click on a link, it typically takes a few seconds regardless of how fast your Internet connection is to return the next complete page. It is during those three seconds that InPage ads display.
And this could not be happening at a better time because advertisers are moving to the Internet in their droves. According to ZenithOptimedia, online advertising accounted for 4,3% of the global market during 2005 (worth some $406 billion) and the organisation expects this to climb to reach 5% in 2007.
However, Safa Rashtchy, senior analyst at Piper Jaffray, is far more bullish: online is on its way up to 10% share much faster than we anticipated, he says, giving a 'conservative' estimate that online advertising will exceed $55 billion globally by 2010, a 27% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over 2005. He points to large advertisers like Absolut Vodka, GM and Ford, all of which plan to spend 20% of their marketing budgets online in 2007.
This is despite the fact the shortage of online advertising inventory, which Gustave Truter, marketing director at InPage Incorporated, says is not holding anyone back. Networks, remnant space and contextual search all continue to expand, even if inventory on large portals is sold out. Therein lies the opportunity for InPage because it expands the advertising inventory available within a portal as it displays ads between pages in the white space between clicks; and it does so by providing a full screen branding solution.
InPage also categorises websites as either private or public. The former could be a site that employs people to sell advertising (such as a CNN or an online news publication) or a consumer-focused company that advertises its own products on its website, including portals.
Access is critical in such cases. Sites are locked down but employees are provided with an electronic key to allocate and design media campaigns on the site. Advertising agencies can also be equipped with keys allowing them to update branding material. Different pricing structures can also be accommodated with these keys, he says.
To illustrate the second type of private site he pulls a conceptualisation out of the ether: imagine that you are a motor vehicle portal and you want advertising on your site to be more appropriate to the content being viewed. If they are looking at pages featuring the x-series, for example, you want them to see advertising specific to that model. InPage can do that.
Both public and private sites require an initial registration with InPage.
Public sites receive adverts from a pool of generic consumer adverts. In addition, the company's InTouch technology delivers ads that are relevant and pertinent to public websites and includes features allowing site owners to block competitive ads through a filter system. All ads served by InPage are reviewed through a combination of human and automated processes, we apply sensitivity content filters to ensure that ads are not inappropriate, says Jackson.
InTouch also allows site owners to monitor ad performance through the online reporting facility that provides data on the number of page impressions as well as clicks and click through rate.