CNET's Ad Sales Overhaul Reaps Rewards

By Jack Myers TomorrowToday Archives

Results from the 2007 Myers Survey of Advertising Executives on Online Sales Organizations

CNET dramatically overhauled its advertising sales organizations in the past year with exceptionally positive results according to the new Sixth Annual Myers Survey of Advertising Executives on Online Sales Organization Performance. The sales organization of CNET.com ranked first among 14 organizations in overall performance in the Myers Business Sites category, based on the aggregate weighted average of five performance attributes. In the Myers TV and Video category, among 25 sites, CNET's TV.com sales organization was rated second, behind only Brightcove, which assigned its sales to Tremor Media shortly after the survey was completed. As reported previously in Jack Myers Media Business Report, the sales organization for GameSpot.com, CNET's gaming site, was also ranked first overall in the new Myers Gaming and Social networks category.

CNET

• The business, technology and science category included 13 sites. The top three sites in the category were very closely rated. CNET was rated first in this category with an Overall Performance Power Score of 50.1. WSJ.com ranked second with an Overall Performance Power Score of 49.5.

• CNET is used as an advertising vehicle by 31% of our respondents, ranking 6th of the 13 sites in the business, technology and science category. In comparison, WSJ.com was used by 47% of respondents and Yahoo! Finance 33%. Usage declined from 2006, when 35% of advertisers claimed to use CNET. Usage was higher among those who spend at least 75% of their time focused on online media (36%).

• CNET sales reps met with 33% of total respondents (down from 36% in 2006), 7th in the business, technology and science category. 43% of online specialists met with a rep in the past twelve months, and 40% of agency personnel met with a CNET rep.

• CNET had large improvements in the overall value of the relationship and ranked 1st in the category on this attribute. They ranked in the top five on all attributes except for responsiveness of sales force (declined from 2006).

  • Sales Reps are responsive to my needs and interests – 42% (8th) – down from 53% in 2006
  • Sales Reps have knowledge of product, content & competition – 57% (2nd)
  • Organization delivers on promises – 54% (2nd)
  • Organization offers valuable non-traditional opportunities – 28% (4th)
  • Overall value of the relationship to you – 59% (1st) – increase from 37% in 2006

TV.com

• In 2006 TV.com had an Overall Performance Power Score of 29 and was the 14th ranked web site in our entertainment, TV, home, health and fashion category. In 2007, TV.com Overall Performance Power Score increased significantly to 54.0, elevating it to the second highest ranked site in the television and video category. The competitive landscape has become more challenging in the past year. The average Overall Performance Power Score from last years’ category was 23, while the average for the television and video sites measured in our 2007 survey was 38. The top three sites in this category were very closely rated; Brightcove was 1st in the category with an Overall Performance Power Score of 54.1, and Weather.com was a close 3rd with a score of 53.7. TVGuide.com was the 4th ranked site in the category with an Overall Performance Power Score of 52.3.

• Usage of TV.com as an advertising vehicle has doubled from 13% in 2006 to 25% of our respondents in 2007 (ranked 14th). Among those who spend more than 75% of their time focused on online media, one third have used TV.com in the past year (ranked 13th). CBS.com leads the category with 58% usage in 2007 (up from 27% in 2006), with MTV.com in 2nd with 52% usage. TVGuide.com was used by 22% of respondents in 2007 (ranked 17th).

• TV.com sales reps doubled their penetration in the marketplace over the past year. 31% of total respondents stated that they have personally met a TV.com rep (15th), up from 13% in 2006. In comparison, 60% of our respondents met with a CBS.com rep, and 57% met with a Weather.com rep in the past year. TVGuide.com had similar growth year over year; in 2006 14% of our respondents met with a TVGuide.com rep, while 30% (16th) met with a rep in 2007. 40% of those who spend 75% or more of their time focused on online media met with a TV.com rep over the past year.

• TV.com’s top two box ratings on sales rep responsiveness and overall value doubled over the past year. TV.com is ranked in the top five across all attributes with the exception of organization offers non-traditional opportunities. TV.com top two box scores and rankings are as follows:

  • Sales Reps are responsive to my needs and interests – 64% (1st) (note: increase from 33% in 2006)
  • Sales Reps have knowledge of product, content & competition – 57% (5th)
  • Organization delivers on promises – 54% (2nd)
  • Organization offers valuable non-traditional opportunities – 46% (8th)
  • Overall value of the relationship to you – 46% (4th) (note: increase from 21% in 2006)

Gamespot.com

• GameSpot.com has increased visibility in the marketplace with increased sales rep presence and usage in 2007. More importantly, their perception in the marketplace as measured by their Overall Performance Power Score positions them as a strong leader in the growing and fragmented entertainment, gaming and social networking category.

• In 2006 GameSpot.com had an Overall Performance Power Score of 30 and was the 13th ranked web site among the 32 sites in our entertainment, TV, home, health and fashion category. In 2007, GameSpot.com increased its Overall Performance Power Score (57) and was the highest ranked site in the entertainment, gaming and social networking category. As the online advertising industry continues to mature, there has been a corresponding increase in the average Overall Performance Power Score across all sites from last years’ survey of 23 to this years’ study of 37. The average for the entertainment, gaming and social networking category was also 37. UGO Entertainment was ranked a close second in this category with an Overall Performance Power Score of 56.5.

• GameSpot.com has increased its market presence significantly in 2007. 38% of our respondents used GameSpot.com as an advertising vehicle versus 18% who had used it in 2006. MySpace.com was the leader in this category, being used by two thirds of our respondent. IGN Entertainment was the second most used site in the category with 44% usage.

• 40% of total respondents stated that they have personally met a GameSpot.com rep in the past year. This is a significant increase from the 24% of respondents who met with a GameSpot.com rep in 2006. Two thirds of our respondents met with a MySpace.com rep, and nearly half (44%) of our respondents met with a Facebook rep. in the past year.

• GameSpot.com has increased significantly on two key attributes from 2006, and ranked in the top five sites across all attributes, leading the category on overall value and delivering on promises.

• GameSpot.com top two box scores and rankings are as follows:

  • Sales Reps are responsive to my needs and interests – 58% (2nd) (note: increase from 31% in 2006)
  • Sales Reps have knowledge of product, content & competition – 61% (2nd)
  • Organization delivers on promises – 60% (1st)
  • Organization offers valuable non-traditional opportunities – 42% (5th)
  • Overall value of the relationship to you – 58% (1st) (note: increase from 29% in 2006)

Methodology

Jack Myers Reports tracks and reports on the increasing importance of online media and its role in the advertising marketplace. This industry-wide survey polls senior client executives, agency senior management, media directors, AMDs, media supervisors, buyers and planners responsible for online media functions. It provides an important look at industry perceptions of major online sales organizations.

The 125 sites that were rated in this year’s survey were categorized into seven categories. Relative rankings within the appropriate category and across all websites are highlighted as appropriate. The categories include:

  • Portals, Search Engines, Commerce
  • Television & Video – TV.com
  • Entertainment, Gaming, Social Networks – Gamespot.com
  • News & Sports
  • Home, Health, Lifestyle, Fashion
  • Business, Technology, Science - CNET
  • Sales Reps & Behavioral Networks

Advertising executives were asked to evaluate the performance for one hundred twenty five (125) major online sales organizations. Respondents were asked if they used the company or site for their advertising and if they met personally with a sales representative in the past 12 months. In addition, executives evaluated the sales organization on a set of performance attributes.

This survey was conducted online during April 2007. Lists of contacts were derived from the Myers' in-house databases and client submissions of their agency and advertiser contacts.

Myers Overall Performance Power Scores

• In order to provide an overall score for each sales organization and to indicate where it ranks in the marketplace, a performance power score was derived based on a set of attributes that defines the quality of the relationship with the organization. The attributes include sales reps are responsive to my needs and interests, sales reps have knowledge of product, content & competition, organization delivers on promises, organization offers valuable non-traditional opportunities, overall value of the relationship to you.

Power scores are weighted by the importance assigned to each of the five attributes and the performance rating of the online sales organization. For each sales organization, the top 2-box importance rating ("6" or "7" on a 7-point scale) was multiplied by the top 2-box performance rating ("6" or "7" on a 7-point scale). The products were summed and divided by the sum of the importance percentages to arrive at the Overall Performance Power Score. This yields a score that is expressed as a percentage, running from a theoretical 0% to 100%. The attributes therefore contribute to this score in proportion to their importance. Each score is then indexed against the average score for all sales organizations within its category. The "average" sales organization indexes at 100.

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