Advertisers wanting to reach kids online are shifting their focus away from children and on to families, according to a new report by AdRelevance.
Online advertising by businesses targeting families grew 96 percent between May and August, while advertising by companies targeting children declined 56 percent in the same period.
Key findings from the report, which analyzes standard 468x60 banner ad campaigns of 183 child and family-focused online advertisers between January 2000 and August 2000, include:
• A majority of ad impressions for child and family-focused online advertisers run on relatively few kinds of sites - portals, kids and family sites.
• With only 4.6 percent fewer online ad impressions, child and family sites are almost as popular as portals for child-focused advertisers. Among family-focused advertisers, however, the child and family genre is a distant second to portals, hosting 22.5 percent fewer banner impressions. These findings suggest that child-focused advertisers concentrate their impressions on fewer sites than do advertisers targeting the family audience.
• While the most popular portals for child-focused advertisers are MSN (13.62 percent share of impressions), Netscape (12.97 percent) and Yahoo! (8.43 percent), family-focused advertisers prefer Yahoo! (27.07 percent share of impressions), AOL.com (12.28 percent), Go.com (6.92 percent) and Altavista (5.35 percent).
• Television, entertainment and movie advertisers account for 30 percent of all impressions on kids and family websites, while department stores, pet supply vendors and toy retailers account for a combined 19 percent of impressions, suggesting that building retail opportunities among the child and family audiences is important to advertisers.
“The shift that we’re seeing in child and family advertising online might be tied in part to the recent FTC privacy guidelines,” said Charlie Buchwalter, vice president of media research for the AdRelevance division of Media Metrix. “It’s safe to say that companies have learned to tread lightly as they seek to target younger generations. The latest data suggest a reallocation of online ad dollars from the child to the parent.”
Not all advertisers, however, are switching to target parents. Fleet Bank recently ran a unique campaign to reach both parents and children, hoping to drive traffic to Fleetkids.com. While the ad banners focus on building the Fleet brand as a source of knowledge for children to learn how to become financially responsible, the campaign also helps parents educate their children on the responsibilities that go with money.
“Our latest analysis suggests that advertisers wanting to reach the child and family audiences are going to great lengths to protect children by ensuring that advertising content is easily differentiated from site content,” Buchwalter said. “We’re seeing more and more ads on these sites flagged with text or graphics to make it clear to both parents and kids that banners are paid advertisements.”