iVillage Advertising

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The iVillage website home page

iVillage Overview


iVillagedescribes itself as a “content-driven community for women...to connect, share advice, find life tools and engage in conversations that matter most to them.” iVillage began as a website in 1995 and has since branched out to include a variety of websites and a TV show. Advertisers have since flocked to iVillage drawn by its highly targeted audience in areas of parenting, health, relationships, beauty and fashion. iVillage was bought out by NBC/Universal in 2006, opening up even more opportunities to advertisers.

Advantages of iVillage


iVillage is visited by over 21 million unique visitors per month and allows advertisers to reach a very large and highly targeted audience. iVillage prides itself on its effective integration of advertisements into its content (Williamson, 1996). The goal of advertising on iVillage is for the advertisements to become a part of the iVillage experience opposed to becoming simply an ad off to the side on a website. iVillage offers several advertising options in addition to advertising on the main website including a targeted direct mail option via a monthly iVillage newsletter and the option of e-mail 'drops' to the iVillage database of over 1.2 million users (Hipkins, 2010).

iVillage generates its own content, as well as allowing members to interact with the website through posting their own user generated content through community message boards, user written blogs and reviews.

iVillage also owns iVillage UK, Astrology.com, GardenWeb and SmartSource.com, as well as the TV program In The Loop. The variety of websites and programming owned by iVillage offers many varied and highly targeted opportunities to advertisers.



Calphalon cookware sponsored a Mothers Day cook-off on In The Loop With iVillage (formerly iVillage Live), an example of iVillages sponsorship integration.

Limitations and Threats


Advertising clutter on websites has always been a concern of online advertisers. While iVillage has overcome this in many respects by integrating advertisers messages through sponsorships, promotions, articles, etc. the problem remains that there are simply too many messages on the internet for a potential consumer to take them all in (Sang, 2010). While iVillage has greatly improved on these problems, the website still uses traditional banner style ads, which, in the opinion in many marketing professionals, are becoming irrelevant due to low click through and recall rates (McCarthy, 2010).

iVillage is not the only one in its market, making it vulnerable to competition. One of the main competitors is the Martha Stewart Living network, which includes a variety of websites and TV outlets, same as iVillage. Oxygen (also owned by NBC) is another large competitor comprised of a television channel and website. While there are several similar media outlets, iVillage is still the third largest in its market, with a revenue of $603 million when it was last reported in 2004 (Belanger, 2005).

Costs


The minimum cost for running a campaign on iVillage is $25,000 per month. The advertisement sizes are measured in pixels and the CPM (cost per thousand) varies based on the size as follows:

728x90 or 468x60 - $9.00 CPM
160x600 - $11.00 CPM
300x250 - $15.00 CPM

The prices vary depending on the placement and targeting of the ads. Other options include advertisements in the iVillage newsletter, which run $10 CPM for a 60x600 skyscraper or 300x250 large rectangle ad, and custom e-mail advertisements targeted based on demographics, geographic regions and interests, which are priced at $60 CPM (Hipkins, 2010).



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Clothing company Klub Nico partnered with iVillage and ran this advertisement in an e-mail blast to the iVillage database.

Reach and Frequency


iVillage reaches one out of seven women 25-54 years old online (Hipkins, 2010). The frequency of advertisements that appear on the website are determined by the advertisers with iVillage based on their needs as well as the scheduling tactics. Advertisers can schedule during the months and around times that are most beneficial to them, for example Calphalon. The cookware brand began advertising around Mothers Day and ran a cook-off promotion, effectively marketing their products as gift ideas for the holiday.

Impact


iVillage has grown steadily since its creation in 1995 and now reaches 21 million unique visitors per month through its various outlets. While internet advertising has been under scrutiny for being perceived as not trustworthy by consumers, those using websites are much more likely to trust the content of websites, meaning advertisements as part of the content are much more effective and have a greater impact on the audience (Goldsmith, 2002).

iVillage has had an impact through cause marketing as well. They previously launched iVillage Cares, a women's advocacy program, and through their content, they have promoted several outside charities and causes, from encouraging donations of used video games to support disease research to featuring appearances by celebrities involved with charities on their television show.




Model Christy Turlington appears on In The Loop With iVillage (formerly iVillage Live) to promote her work with ( RED ), an AIDS activism group.

Audience Qualities


The majority of the iVillage audience is made up of women 25-54 years old that are online in some form (Hipkins, 2010). The audience is comprised of women with an interest in topics including love, sex and relationships, parenting and pregnancy, beauty and fashion, health and diet, and home and garden. There age and demographics of the iVillage overall audience may be further broken down within these more specific categories. For example, the sex and relationships may have a base audience with an age range closer to 18-30 while the home and garden audience may be 35-60. The majority of the audience is caucasian, educated and have a median income.

Success With iVillage

In 2010 iVillage reportedly gained 84 new advertisers and these are just a sampling of the many advertisers that are finding great success using iVillage's integrated advertising methods.

  • QualityHealth- QualityHealth partnered with iVillage in August 2010 in an effort to expand the iVillage health topics and increase the reach of both companies in that area. The partnership gives QualityHealth access to iVillages millions of users and allows iVillage to expand its health offerings (Kaplan, 2010).
  • AmEx- American Express credit company launched a program in September 2010 called "the talk" which encourages parents to talk with their teens about money and credit issues. AmEx has partnered with iVillage for this venture and the website homepage now has a bold link asking "Have You Had the Talk?- Find Out Which Talk Other Moms are Having Now." The advertisement is fully integrated into the iVillage content.
  • Nintendo- Nintendo launched an advertisement for its Wii-Fit game as a television ad in 2009, which directed viewers to iVillage.com. On the website, a full content lifestyle section revolving around Wii-Fit could be found, which included a blog, message boards, quizzes and games for the audience to interact with.


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This is a screenshot of the iVillage homepage. The words circled in red asks"Have You Had the Talk?- Find Out Which Talk Other Moms are Having Now"
and links to a page which includes a video and various other content sponsored
by American Express. This is an example of integrated ads on iVillage.

References


Williamson, D. (1996). iVillage stirs the pot for web advertising. Advertising Age, 67(21), 50. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

Sang Yeal, L., & Yong-Suk, C. (2010). Do Web Users Care About Banner Ads Anymore? The Effects of Frequency and Clutter in Web Advertising. Journal of Promotion Management, 16(3), 288-302. doi:10.1080/10496490903582594.

McCarthy, E., Runacus, M., Cruickshank, M., & Robertson, D.. (2010, October). Will brands continue to spend money on online banner ads? Marketing,28. Retrieved November 18, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 2181173171).

Hipkins/NBC Universal, Annette. "IVillage." Message to the author. 18 Nov. 2010. E-mail.

Belanger, Kristin. "iVillage.com." University of Maine eCommerce. University of Maine, 5 Dec. 2005. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. <http://ecom.umfk.maine.edu/iVillage.PDF>

Goldsmith, R., & Lafferty, B. (2002). Consumer response to Web sites and their influence on advertising effectiveness. Internet Research, 12(4), 318. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

IVillage.com Daily Traffic. Rep. Quantcast, 2010. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. <http://www.quantcast.com/ivillage.com>.
This website contains a survey showing the iVillage demographics.

Kaplan, David. "iVillage Takes Over Display Sales For New Partner QualityHealth ." The Economics of Digital Content. paidcontent.org, 24 Aug. 2010. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. <http://paidcontent.org/article/419-ivillage-takes-over-display-sales-for-new-partner-qualityhealth/>.