The popularity of vertical advertising networks are growing in popularity, new industry trends show.

A report from comScore revealed that the reach of vertical ad networks increased from 21.5 per cent of the total online audience in March 2008 to 57 per cent during the same month this year.

Vertical ad networks, which target material to specific audiences based on category or demographic content also received an increased number of visits.

The number of unique visitors who interacted with vertical ad network content rose by 172 per cent between March 2008 and March 2009.

The study’s findings also showed that people who were reached by vertical ad networks spent at least 60 per cent more time on any given site compared with the average visitor.

Leslie Litton, vice president of media at comScore said: “As more vertical ad networks prove their ability to effectively reach specific target audiences by aggregating mid-tail publisher sites, the industry will likely give greater consideration to these emerging ad delivery channels.”

Writing on Gourmet Ads, marketing expert Benjamin Christie recently advised industry professionals that vertical advertising increases return on investment.