Number of Unique Ads Rises Online

NEW YORK — In what Nielsen/NetRatings is calling an early sign of an online advertising recovery, the number of unique Internet ads rose 33 percent during the first four months of 2002.

Representing a new high, nearly 70,000 unique ads appeared on the Web last month, according to a recent study from Internet ad measurement firm.

The rise marks the reversal of a downward spiral that started in April 2001. From the previous peak in March 2001 of 68,458, the number of unique ads on the Internet declined through the rest of the year to reach a low of 52,530 in January 2002. Since then, the number of unique ads increased to 58,235 in February and 64,932 in March.

“The burst of online ads over the last three months indicates that the online ad market is finding some new traction,” said Charles Buchwalter, vice president of media research at NetRatings, a subsidiary of Adweek parent VNU.

Traditional advertisers fueled that growth, according to the study, with advertisers like Columbia House and Nestle running 330 and 214 unique online ads in April, respectively. USA Networks posted 538 unique ads last month, a 60-percent jump from the beginning of the year, and Microsoft ran 348, a 55-percent increase since January.

“Over the next 12 months, the significance of this development will be underscored if these increases in unique ads translate into sustained increases in online ad expenditures,” said Buchwalter.