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Advertisers and marketers may not know how to communicate with moms online, but they're going to be sending a lot more advertising their way in the coming months.

Women's sites are performing very well in the online ad category, and as the recession deepens, that trend is likely to increase.

Advertising is down across most sectors and many forecasts expect flat growth in online advertising this year, but female focused sites are an exception.

PaidContent points out that women's sites have increased their advertising revenue in the past six months, even as other online destinations have lost ad dollars:

"The volume of display ad views (an indication of how many campaigns were running in a specific vertical) on sites like Glam Media and iVillage outpaced views on sites in the health, automotive and travel categories."

In April there were 4.7 billion display ad views on women’s sites. That's compared to roughly 2.2 billion views on automotive sites, and 1.2 billion on travel sites.

Most marketing executives plan to grow their display ad spend in the next six months, and as a result of their high returns, women's sites stand to win an increased chunk of those budgets. PaidContent notes that large brands like Procter & Gamble and Kraft are "investing big time" in women focused advertising.

In a downturn, purchase decisions become more household related, which makes women even more influential. According to Nielsen, makes make 85% of household purchase decisions.

And new unemployment numbers indicate that women are increasingly holding the purse strings.

In May the difference between men's and women's unemployment rates grew to 2.5%. Now 10.5% of men are unemployed and 8% of women. That's the highest gap on record since unemployment tallies started in 1948.

Two male-dominated industries - construction and manufacturing - account for half of the 6 million jobs lost in the past year, meaning that while American households are bringing in less money, a larger percentage of that income is earned by females.

And the way that women shop differs from males. According to a recent Rapleaf study, female purchasing decisions are “less transactional and more relationship-driven” than men's. Meanwhile, BlogHer found that 64 percent of its users have made a purchasing decision as a result of a recommendation or customer experience posted on a blog.

Purchasing ads on sites that are trusted sources of information for women — like BlogHer, iVillage, and Glam properties — looks like an increasingly effective strategy.

A problem remains with messaging, however. Yesterday, Sally Falkow noted on our site that 60% of mommy bloggers feel like they are being ignored by marketers. According to Brandweek, "In trying to perfect the message, many have forgotten to listen to the very consumer they are trying to woo."

And that is especially important because influential women complain loudly. According to The New York Times, affluent women online — or “marketing multipliers” — are five times as likely to communicate satisfaction or dissatisfaction about products and 76% are asked about their product choices by others.


Meghan Keane

Published 2 July, 2009 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

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Comments (2)



advertisers are expecting more in terms of accountability. They are more attuned to metrics vs. pure buzz factor. CPA or Cost Per Action is leading the way in guaranteeing ROI for advertisers. At Hydra, where I do some consulting work, we have seen that when clients only pay for performance (guaranteed ROI), they are in fact wililing to spend.

over 7 years ago


Roberta Speyer

We have over 5 million page views a month on OBGYN.net mostly to US based women and then their healthcare providers which includes 12% male audience. We have noticed eCPM down on network and affiliate ads but spending is up by direct advertisers reaching out to women in the healthcare sector. A lot of companies that formerly did not target women healthcare consumers are doing so now. These would include surgical, bio tech and diagnostic companies. This seems to be attributed to two factors. One, they are following the direct to consumer DTC model successfully exploited by pharmaceutical companies in the past on TV. Two, they can now afford to do so since the Internet has leveled the cost playing field for DTC whereas TV was by and large beyond their budgets. Advertisers are beginning to realize that women are shoppers and influence most spending within their families. This seems so obvious to me as a woman, mother, wife, daughter, and businesswoman in a women focused industry.  But it is not really not so obvious to everyone yet. Many women focused companies are still mostly run by men, or men run the sales and marketing departments, but the pardim is shifting. It will be interesting to watch. One thing I do lament is the sanitizing of women's health online overall. The big buzz in marketing is around "wellness". If you go to Glam and look under women's health the offerings are pretty slim...yoga...vitamins, fitness. Its as if women's new media has decided to just avoid the nasty old thing called disease and sickness and surgical decisions altogether. I think this will change as the online audience ages in the comming decade. There are only so many times a company can get away with addressing womens health with an article titled "Seven Ways to a Flatter Tummy". Is there a doctor in the house? NO!

over 7 years ago

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