August 12, 2008, 12:00 AM

American Apparel leads in online display ads among retailers, study says

American Apparel delivered 483 million online display ads in April – mostly on social networking sites, comScore Inc. says.

A new study from comScore Inc. based on data from comScore’s Ad Metrix service shows that many of the largest apparel retailers are noticeably absent from top online advertiser rankings. American Apparel LLC was the top online display advertiser in the apparel category, delivering 483 million ads in April. The ads of American Apparel, No. 262 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, reached 48.9 million unique Internet users an average of 9.9 times during the month, according to comScore.

Under Armour Inc., No. 188 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, ranked second. Under Armour delivered 311.5 million online display ads in April, reaching 51 million unique users an average of 6.1 times during the month. SnorgTees.com delivered 249.2 million ads to 34 million unique users who saw the ads an average of 7.3 times. L.L. Bean Inc., No. 23, delivered 205.6 million display ads to 39.7 million unique users with an average frequency of 5.2 views per user, while LaneBryant.com delivered 142 million display ads to 22.6 million unique users with an average frequency of 6.3 views per user.

Rounding out the top 14 were Nordstrom.com, Spiegel Inc., Giorgio Armani, Levis Strauss & Co., BustedTees.com, Nike, NFLShop.com, Endless.com and Skechers.com.

“Apparel is one of the largest U.S. e-commerce categories, accounting for roughly 15% of total online retail sales,” says Evan Neufeld, comScore vice president, advertising effectiveness. “However, some of the biggest retailers in the category are significantly underrepresented in the online display ad market. Given the Internet’s proven ability to drive both online and offline sales, those retailers failing to make use of this growing advertising channel are overlooking a substantial opportunity.”

The study found that American Apparel delivered the majority of its display ads via social media, with nearly half its ads appearing across social networking sites MySpace.com, which accounted for 24% of its display ad views in April; and Facebook.com, 19%. AOL’s AIM application accounted for nearly another 12%.

“American Apparel is a cutting edge brand and its online advertising strategy clearly reflects that,” Neufeld says. “Using social media as the primary vehicle to drive its provocative ad campaigns has helped it build a strong presence among its core audience of young adults.”

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