Women’s Sites Attract Ad Dollars
By Tom Ryan
Sites aimed at women, from “mommy blogs” to beauty and fashion sites, grew 35 percent last year – faster than every other category on the web except politics, according to comScore. Answering the call, 4.4 billion display ads appeared on women’s websites in May – more than for sites aimed at children, teenagers or families.
According to an article in The New York Times, while men are heavy users of the web, they tend not to visit sites explicitly aimed at them. For example, AOL’s Living channel for women had 16.1 million unique visitors in June, while its Asylum site, a top men’s destination online, had only 3.3 million.
According to Joni Evans, a literary agent who founded wowOwow, an over-40 women’s site, women more so than men thrive on sharing anecdotes – a natural function for the web. “Women love to reach out and talk,” she said.
The growth in advertising and traffic to women’s sites has attracted the attention of major media companies and venture capitalists:
- On August 5, Comcast paid $125 million for DailyCandy, which calls itself “a free daily e-mail from the front lines of fashion, food, and fun”;
- In July, Peacock Equity, a venture partnership including NBC Universal,
invested $5 million in BlogHer, a network of 2,200 blogs by and for women;
- In March, Yahoo created Shine, a site that publishes original content,
blog posts from readers and articles from traditional women’s magazine publishers
like Hearst and Condé Nast.
Among retailers, Walmart offers gift certificates through CafeMom to bloggers writing about what green-products they bought. Another Walmart campaign, Glam, presents a quiz, “What’s Your Steak Style?,” to help a reader determine whether her “palate personality” is casual, healthy, decadent or gourmet. Each page featured an ad for Wal-Mart’s new steak selections.
According to the article, advertisers are betting that the “trust and intimacy that come from talking about sex after motherhood or reading about a blogger’s battle with postpartum depression will translate into sales of products discussed on a site or simply advertised alongside the personal stories.”
Indeed, advertisers are most interested in traditional-media women’s magazines topics: fashion, beauty, celebrities and finding love.
“Time and time again, women are happy to see their relationship with their food, their clothes and their relationships externally manifested in entertainment and how-to content,” said Lauren Zalaznick, president of NBC Universal’s women and lifestyle entertainment networks, including iVillage.
Discussion Question: Is advertising on the web becoming a significantly bigger advertising opportunity to reach women? In what ways is it changing? How should web-advertising differ among genders?