Research Confirms Online Advertising Drives Offline Sales

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Research Confirms Online Advertising Drives Offline Sales

Online advertising is no longer meant only for online marketers. More and more studies are showing that online advertising can be beneficial for offline sales as well.

comScore and DunnHumby recently conducted a study on the effects of online advertising versus television advertising, across 200,000 consumers, recording their behaviour through the use of supermarket loyalty cards.

Their research showed that the boost given by online advertising to offline sales was not only higher but also faster than the boost provided by TV advertising.

The comparative study showed that the sales lift achieved by TV ads was 8% over a period of 12 months, while the lift from online ads was 9% over just 3 months. In parallel terms, the percentage of sales lift achieved through TV ads was 36% and that through online ads was 80%.

In 2008, Google had commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a study among 3 consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands, in order to study the effects of traditional TV ads versus the effects of online platforms.

Accordingly, the study was carried out by running identical ads on TV, on a computer screen replicating a YouTube video environment, and on a computer screen replicating a click-to-play video embedded in the content. The results revealed that all the platforms were equally effective in the ability to convey their message about the brand and its strength, and thereby encourage users to go ahead and make a purchase.

While these findings should encourage marketers to shift their ad spend towards online advertising, TNS Media Intelligence has found that the ad spend for TV ads remains static at 58% since 2005, while ad spend on online ads has grown in 2009 from 2% to 4%. And that additional 2% has come through relocation of funds from radio and newspaper ads, but not from TV.

Gian Fulgoni, the executive chairman of comScore says, “these early results confirm the ability of online advertising to successfully build retail sales of CPG brands on par with the impact of television advertising. It is likely that the more precise targeting ability of the Internet – especially in terms of accurately reaching the desired demographic segment – is a key reason for its effectiveness.”