DoubleClick and Comscore MMX Explore Techniques for Efficiently Using Internet as a Reach Medium with Joint Study on Online Audience Accumulation

Data Show How to Reach Light Internet Users and Specific Target Groups, Optimize Scheduling, and How 'Audience Build Rates' Vary Among Sites

NEW YORK, Sept. 27, 2004 - DoubleClick Inc. (DCLK), a leading provider of marketing solutions for advertising agencies, marketers and web publishers, today released a joint research study with Comscore MMX which explores the reach of the Internet by the same measures used in print and television advertising. The report analyzes the dynamics of online audience accumulation (or the rate at which a site attracts incremental unique visitors over time) and its implications for scheduling and packaging online media.

In the joint whitepaper, the companies show how the Internet can be used as a reach medium, and not only through the most popular Web sites. Advertisers can maximize exposure to hard-to-find light Internet users and specific target groups, optimize scheduling to take advantage of site usage peaks, and understand how audience build rates vary among site genres.

"In both television and print advertising, audience accumulation is always a factor in assessing reach, and the same principle can be applied to the Web," said Lynn Bolger, Executive Vice President, Agency Development, Comscore. "Total monthly audience data is just one way to determine how a site can deliver reach -- online audience accumulation must also be analyzed to determine which day of week, times of day and types of content perform best given advertiser goals."

"This joint study between DoubleClick and Comscore MMX will help web publishers, media planners and advertisers better understand cumulative audience dynamics to increase the effectiveness of their ad sales efforts and of their advertising, respectively," said Doug Knopper, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Ad Management, DoubleClick. "We've gone beyond an era of discussion about page-views and unique visitors to one where we need to understand how the Internet reaches targeted audiences. This study is one step in DoubleClick's ongoing initiatives to make online advertising more efficient and effective for both buyers and sellers."

Key Findings
In order to effectively build reach, delivery among heavy and light Internet users should be balanced:

  • Heavy Internet users (defined as those who go online 19 days or more in a month) have a disproportionate impact on site statistics: a minority of viewers (38.8%) account for the majority (73.0%) of all page views.
  • The ability of sites in the same peer set to reach the light web users - who may represent their target audience more than heavy users - can vary widely. Being aware of sites' relative ability to reach lighter users should guide advertisers' site selection, and can be a unique selling point for publishers.
  • For example, the study showed that CNN's likelihood of reaching a light user on an average ad placement is much higher than that of others in its competitive set.

High reach is not always consistent with high composition:

  • If the advertising goal is targeted audience reach, placement on high-reach sites should be complemented with high-composition sites.
  • High-reach sites are those that are visited by most consumers in the Internet population and the demographic compositions on these sites will closely mirror the Internet average. On sites with more specialized content, and a clearer skew towards a target audience, the probability of an ad actually being viewed by the target is much higher.
  • For example, the study showed that sports, auto, and gaming sites dominate high-composition sites for males 18-34: ESPN, eBay Motors, and Yahoo! Sports have the highest compositions of males in this age group.

Scheduling tactics should be directed by audience dynamics:

  • Audience patterns and reach vary by day of week and hour of day and certain sites' usage patterns are directly affected by their content offerings.
  • For example, Yahoo! Movies sees higher usage on weekend evenings, Wall Street Journal usage peaks early in the morning and at the end of the workday, and AOL Parenting sees a spike on Sundays.
  • Whatever the reason for usage peaks and valleys, campaigns will be more successful in building reach when ad schedules include a site's peak time periods. Third party ad servers can be used to target by "daypart" but few advertisers or web publishers use this technique.

'Audience build' rates vary by site and should drive scheduling options:

  • Portal brand recognition and the breadth of content offered by Yahoo!, MSN, AOL and others contribute both to high penetration and fast audience build.
  • More niche sites including real estate, automotive, and health sites are the slowest to build audience; these types of sites are visited by consumers mainly when they have specific objectives.
  • For example, Yahoo! News attains 40% of its monthly audience in four days, while Yahoo! Health takes nine days to reach the same level. WebMD takes 23 days to reach 80% penetration, roughly the same rate as competitor Yahoo! Health.
  • The take-away is that slower-building sites require longer runs, while a short, heavy blast on sites with steep build curves may be sufficient to reach the majority of users.

For the full study, with additional examples to substantiate key findings and accompanying charts, please visit click here or email

About DoubleClick Inc.
DoubleClick is the leading provider of solutions for advertising agencies, marketers and web publishers to plan, execute and analyze their marketing programs. DoubleClick's marketing solutions -- online advertising, search engine marketing, affiliate marketing, email marketing, database marketing, data management and marketing resource management -- help clients yield the highest return on their marketing dollar. In addition, the company's marketing analytics tools help clients measure performance within and across channels. DoubleClick Inc. has global headquarters in New York City and maintains 22 offices around the world.

About Comscore MMX
Comscore MMX, a division of Comscore Networks, provides industry-leading Internet audience measurement services that report – with unmatched accuracy - details of online media usage, visitor demographics and online buying power for the home, work and university audiences across local U.S. markets and across the globe. Comscore MMX continues the tradition of quality and innovation established by its MMX syndicated Internet ratings - long recognized as the currency in online media measurement among financial analysts, advertising agencies, publishers and marketers - while drawing upon Comscore's advanced technologies to address important new industry requirements. All Comscore MMX syndicated ratings are based on industry-sanctioned sampling methodologies.

Bill Daddi
Daddi Brand Communications