For 2010, we (Deloitte) were appointed by IAB Netherlands as the new research agency to provide insights in online advertising spending in the Netherlands based on more comprehensive input data. The results reported are the most accurate measurement of the online advertising revenues in the Netherlands, because the data is compiled directly from a representative sample of online publishers. The respondents cover over 85% of the internet reach in the Netherlands, some 4000+ websites.
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IAB members can download the full report and contents of the report were discussed in the media. Or you can watch the video (in Dutch).
Here I want to tell you what I think is the most interesting insight.
There is significant variety in the ratio of the share of wallet and share of visitors for leading publishers in the Netherlands. The power ratio of the participating publishers shows a great diversity. The power ratio is calculated by dividing the Share of Wallet by the Share of Reach.
Publishers with a specific target audience received a high advertising share relative to its visitors share. 4 publishers have an extra ordinary share of advertising compared to their reach. 8 publishers have poor advertising performance compared to their reach.
So what does this mean?
Simply said: how many people visit your website is quite irrelevant in terms of the ability to generate advertising revenue online. Compare this to TV were the ratings are the Holy Grail. Off course for both type of media the target audience is important but for internet much more so. It confirms based on facts that the ability to understand who is visiting your website and what they want and need is the way to maximize your profits. Rich data is king, not unique visitors.
For websites with no specific target audience (= popular websites), the solution is not the monthly audience reach reports but behavourial targeting. My website may attrackt all kinds of people but I know at this moment there is a guy, from Amsterdam, interested in cars (for example). The study shows that revenue generated through behavioral targeting was only €16m in 2010, only 8%. But 26% of the publishers use behavourial targeting and weighted for their reach it is done by more than half (58%).
So it seems that the large pubishers with many unique visitors understand that they need behavourial targeting to boost ad revenue. But they are not yet very succesfull.
I would strongly recommend Dutch online publishers to be better aware of who is collecting data from their websites. My hypothesis is that there are third parties, like Google.Doubleclick/Media Agencies/Ad Networks/Ad Exchanges, who understand more about their audience than they do themselves. Those third parties also collect data from other websites so the conclusion must be that they have much more and much richer data than the online publishers.
The current debate around online privacy is a great opportunity to build a perimeter around your domains and avoid data leakage. Assuming that data related to a personal computer (using cookies, IP Addresses and other unique identifiers) in future will be regarded by regulators as personally identifiable information and that collecting, sharing and matching data by third parties across different domains will be more and more restricted, the online publishers will be sitting on a pot of gold: rich data about their audience.