New research from the Online Publisher’s Association claims that visitors to its member’s branded content sites are more sought-after consumers than those who use portal sites, such as Yahoo.

The research, carried out by DJG Marketing using data from Nielson/Net Ratings and MRI indicates that visitors to the OPA sites bought more frequently and spent more money across several major categories including, entertainment, financial services, travel and automotive.

OPA president Pam Horan believes her members’ sites offer the best value for advertisers:

“This study demonstrates that branded original content sites deliver more valuable buyers than portal and search sites. OPA sites allow advertisers to be where consumers are eager to learn, more likely to buy, and more willing to spend.”

Advertising executives may take a different view. Advertising on portal sites gets products and services seen by a larger audience and also allows them to target potential customers through paid search marketing. 

Meanwhile ad planners at aQuantive told Online Media Daily that the different types of advertising are not mutually exclusive: “It’s never an either-or situation, it’s how do they fit together?”

aQuantive’s Jeff Lanctot added:

“What we focus on is, how does the mix of sites, the combination of digital touch points, lead you to meaningful engagement with the consumer.”

From our perspective this makes sense. Studies from the likes of Dynamic Logic have shown that advertisers can generate uplift in the key brand metrics by running campaigns across multiple media channels. So we’d remove ‘digital’ from the above quote, since other channels such as TV and print come into play for many large advertisers.

The big portal sites like MSN and Yahoo have yet to comment on this study (chaps?). What we do know is that these big portals still account for the vast majority of online ad budget for display ads, such as banners and skyscrapers. That said, proportionately, display ads are in decline, while paid-search and classifieds are continuing to gain share.

Further Reading:

The OPA Advantage – Attracting the Most Valuable Buyers (white paper)