Animal group makes online advertising's top 10

Helen Barrett

The World Society for the Protection of Animals has created the UK's most viewed charity click-through web advert.

The charity, currently running adverts targeted at young people on the social networking site MySpace, also beat giants such as BT and Channel 4 in having the seventh most viewed web advert overall in July.

It was beaten only by laser eye treatment firm Ultralase, BSkyB, Virgin Trains, the Racing Post, free internet calls provider Skype and O2.

The charity said the campaign had helped it boost donor recruitment.

Since last year, it has signed up 5,000 donors from display adverts for two campaigns, one addressing the issue of the bear bile industry, a second highlighting humane stray dog control.

"We have been able to reach a younger audience that was inaccessible by other methods," said Fiona Kitson, direct marketing manager at WSPA.

"We are focusing on how to develop and retain these younger donors."

MySpace has 3.5 million UK users and is popular with adults under 35.

The number of people using it grew by 98 per cent in the first half of 2006, according to figures from Nielsen NetRatings.

WSPA is now planning to expand its online advertising by introducing campaigns it has run successfully abroad.

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