Meeting of the Giants: Composition Index of the Top Advertisers and Publishers

The Top 50 Online Advertisers spent $294 million in February, according to TNS Media Intelligence. But how did they know where to spend it? Using Compete’s BehaviorMatch, we took a look at where prospects and customers of a few of the Top 50 spend time online.

For the 4 advertisers below, we observed each brand’s Composition Index at the largest ad-supported sites, also known in net parlance as publishers. A Composition Index compares a brand’s share of a publisher’s traffic to the brand’s share of overall US internet traffic.

For example, of the 1.2 million people who visited phoenix.edu in February, approximately 850,000 also visited yahoo.com. The overlap represented only .651% of yahoo.com visitors. That’s not a lot, but it’s even less than phoenix.edu’s .677% share of February’s 180 million US internet users. We divide these percentages and multiply by 100 to get 96, phoenix.edu’s Composition Index at yahoo.com.

All other things being equal, this means that phoenix.edu visitors are slightly less likely to visit yahoo.com than the average website. A score of 100 would hit the average. In short, the higher the Composition Index, the greater the likelihood that a given segment will visit a site.

Looking at the table above, I’ve found some interesting behavioral-fueled insights:

  • University of Phoenix students love to learn! The top 3 publishers for the online education leader are ask.com, about.com and information.com.
  • Progressive Direct shoppers over-index at family and sports oriented site go.com (home of ABC, Disney and ESPN).
  • E-Trade Financial customers and prospects love CNN! E-Trade’s visitors are more than twice as likely to visit the news and financial information money.cnn.com hub vs. the average site. Where should E-Trade avoid advertising? MySpace. The #1 social network’s members are much less likely to be E-Trade prospects.
  • Lending Tree shoppers are social surfers. They over-index at sites popular with the online digerati, such as youtube.com, blogspot.com and facebook.com.

With each high Composition Index, there’s a great opportunity to place advertising based on transparent behavioral insight and to develop Apps and partnerships that reach an engaged and like-minded segment of consumers.

What interesting insights can you find?

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