When it comes to online advertising these days, it’s all about targeting. As technology has allowed marketers to focus their campaigns more efficiently on those that they want to attract, niche ad networks have become a zeitgeist in the advertising world.
Ad networks are essentially conduits, connecting advertisers to a group of host sites. Yet the brilliance of ad networks serving specific and niche sectors is that they end up being mutually beneficial for both sides. In the case of the buyers, the “ability to precision-target niche audiences helps advertisers reduce wasted ad impressions,” according to a recent press release by ComScore ratings. On the other side of the coin, the ad networks allow those sites that may not necessarily generate enough traffic on their own to capture big name advertisers and parts of their budgets.
All of this comes on the heels of the announcement on Tuesday that NaturalPath Media is partnering with 20 new sites in its network, including DrGreene.com, which is the “pioneer physician website,” according to the American Medical Association. NaturalPath’s network is made of 80 publishers and has a reach of over 20 million monthly unique visitors.
Relatively, these numbers are nothing to compared to AOL’s Platform-A ad network, which is the #1 ranked network with a monthly reach 170.5 million viewers, 91% of all US internet users according to ComScore. Regardless, this movement is a trend that industry insiders are starting to take notice as well.
According to Cheryl Greene, co-founder of DrGreene.com, NaturalPath gives them a “more targeted, highly effective” way to reach their audience, better suiting the company’s interests than its most recent partner, WebMD. “We respect the people at WebMD, but we requested that we only wanted green advertisers, and they decided that wasn’t the direction they were going,” said Greene.
As more and more people are starting recognize the weight the LOHAS market carries, with an estimated $200 billion in barely-tapped purchasing power, many of the prominent green ad networks – such as SustainLane, Lime, Burst, and even recently MSNBC – are starting to notice a shift in bigger names diversifying their ad budgets to target more to green.
This trend, as a result, means that the Dr. Bronner’s of the world are now starting to make similar ad purchases as The New York Times and Hondas of the world, which if nothing else, serves to justify the green, healthy living moment’s transition from the fringe to the main. And even if this isn’t the direction that WebMD, my hunch is that it’s going to be for many others.