December 4th, 2006

Brands As Media


Here’s a statistic to put a chill the heart of any online content or web app business looking to ride the wave of consumer advertising shifting online (via AdAge):

Corporate and brand websites — once derided as “brochureware” in a digital marketing world that quickly moved to sexier applications — are getting a rehabilitation of sorts as their traffic numbers vie with those of many consumer sites in the web’s long tail.

Such package-goods marketers as Procter & Gamble Co. and Unilever don’t sell many products directly online. Their low-cost, low-involvement brands tend not to generate much search. Yet the websites of P&G and Unilever now reach nearly 6 million and 3 million unique visitors, respectively, in the U.S. each month, according to ComScore Media Metrix.

While P&G sites captured only 3.3% of ComScore’s U.S. web audience in October, that’s more than double its industry-leading 1.3% share of U.S. ad spending last year and nine times its share of online ad spending, according to TNS Media Intelligence. The monthly web audiences for P&G and Unilever brands now easily swamp the audiences of many magazines and cable and syndicated TV shows where they advertise. [Emphasis mine]

Maybe P&G and Unilver should start offering media brands and Web 2.0 companies an opportunity to advertise on their sites. Imagine how many real people new web apps could reach by advertising on P&G vs. advertising on sites that only reach early adopters.

  • I think the real find with this article is how important established and trusted off-line brands are -- compared to sites and services that are trying to start from ground zero, they have tons of online and offline momentum, although much of it is tremendously un-sexy. The Internet has a huge "dark" population -- the equivalent of "fly-over" country -- that uses the Internet in ways the geekosphere doesn't acknowledge or want to acknowledge. In plain language, they're ordinary folks.

    Ordinary folks may eventually follow early adopters, but as the article shows, they have a huge amount of influence in established and traditional brands; the key for these brands is not how to monetize, but how to monetize *further*.

    Great pickup.
    t @ dji

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