NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — Don’t look now, but the biggest U.S. websites are getting less and less American. What’s a conundrum for some of the best-known web properties as they try to turn their growing international user bases into ad dollars is an opportunity for marketers. Big brands can do global online campaigns on the cheap.
Consider: The international web population grew 17%, surpassing 1 billion in just the past 10 months. China alone grew 22%, while the internet population in the U.S. grew just 2% to 193 million, according to ComScore. A look at the top-50 ostensibly U.S. websites shows that many are getting more traffic from abroad than from the U.S. The New York Times gets 42% of its visitors from abroad, Twitter 51%, YouTube 81% and Facebook 82%.
Ad Age Digital DigitalNext MediaWorks Traditionally, U.S. marketers haven’t had much interest in foreign audiences and are sometimes surprised to learn that their online ad buys in the U.S. are showing up as impressions in Canada, the U.K., Israel or elsewhere. “It’s very tempting,” said Oren Netzer, CEO of Double Verify. “A lot of times the agency does not specifically say U.S. inventory. International impressions are the biggest source of waste that exists.”
But as the international web population grows, there’s a growing emphasis on finding ways to make the corresponding business international. Until five years ago, global ad buys rarely included an online component, and when they did they were pretty much restricted to the few web properties with sales operations around the globe, such as MSN, Yahoo and Google.
Now, there are quite a few more online and media players with international footprints, such as Facebook, News Corp.’s MySpace and Viacom, with its MTV and VH1 online properties around the globe. As the number of international users rises, it has become tempting for marketers to buy globally.
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