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Thursday, June 02, 2005

OPA: Web Ads A Draw For Many Consumers

MediaPost Publications Home of MediaDailyNews, MEDIA and OMMA Magazines
OPA: Web Ads A Draw For Many Consumers
by Wendy Davis, Thursday, Jun 2, 2005 6:00 AM EST
RATHER THAN CHASE CONSUMERS AWAY, advertising on Web sites can drive consumers to visit those sites and spend more time there, according to a report released Wednesday by the Online Publishers Association.

"Far from being a turn-off, relevant advertising is a reason why people get engaged with sites," said Michael Zimbalist, president of the Online Publishers Association. "Contextually relevant ads are considered to be a useful aspect of the site."
For the study, "Online User Experience Study," the Online Publishers Association and the Media Management Center at Northwestern University surveyed 2,215 online users and conducted in-person interviews with 65 respondents. Researchers questioned respondents about their experiences at 39 different sites in seven categories: national news, local news, aggregated news, entertainment, games, visits, finance, and lifestyle.

Zimbalist said that some respondents who cited ads as part of a site's appeal said that the site gave them ideas for shopping, or that the ads were "interesting."

Even when visitors reported annoyance with online ads, that didn't seem to translate into less usage, said Zimbalist.

The report also found a high correlation between how entertaining or absorbing visitors found sites and usage, as determined by the frequency of visits and the length of time spent visiting. Some other factors correlated with high usage included whether a site seems to be concerned with people such as the visitors, and whether it's a regular part of visitors' days.


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