Local display ad provider PaperG performed an analysis in July of the performance of its display advertising on different categories of websites. The company looked at clicks and other indicators of performance (ad engagement) across more than 10,000 websites and 100 million impressions.
It divided websites into three “inventory” categories:
- Premium-Local – websites well known in their area and large enough to support direct sales team (e.g. ChicagoTribune, Patch.com)
- Premium – websites well known in their category and large enough to support direct sales team (e.g. Hulu.com, Gawker.com)
- Non-premium – websites less known in their category or not large enough to sell directly (e.g. Foodbuzz.com, CarDomain.com)
PaperG discovered that ads on “Premium-Local websites performed better than all other types of websites, delivering a click-through rate 98% higher on average.” The company said that Premium-Local sites saw performance lift that was significantly better than the other site categories:
- PL sites saw 153% higher CTR than premium sites
- PL sites saw 27% higher CTR than non-premium sites
- PL sites saw 30% engagement than other types of inventory
I asked PaperG CEO Victor Wong about the finding that non-premium sites appeared to generate a higher CTR than premium sites. We discussed a number of potential explanations but they were largely speculative.
In this study “engagement” included time spent looking at or mousing over the display unit. Thus, putting aside CTR as a metric, users spent 30% more time looking at PaperG’s ads on Premium-Local sites than on other types of websites.
I also asked Wong about the ad creative. He said in all cases the ads used the same creative, which contained a local message or content. Accordingly ad content didn’t influence the recorded differences in performance.
PaperG, JiWire, xAd and others have exposed data showing that ads with local content are more engaging and perceived to be more relevant than other categories of display ads. By contrast this study stands for the proposition that “local context” matters. That’s a new finding.
There was also an OPA study several years ago that featured similar findings regarding ad performance on newspaper and other branded local content sites.
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