Online Ad Effectiveness Rivals TV? Yep!

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I just wrote (yesterday) that we need some sort of study of online video ads versus TV ads. Oddly, here’s a study that did almost exactly that. They didn’t focus on video advertising online, unfortunately, but they’re near the mark.
comScore just let loose a report about the effectiveness of online advertising. The study was not limited to online video advertising but included all forms and was only limited to Comsumer Packaged Goods so it doesn’t apply everywhere.

In a nutshell, they found that online advertising can be just as effective at impacting retails sales as television is.

They hit 200,000 consumers for their panel-based feedback. Each was a member of one of those loyalty programs (discount cards, special events, etc) at grocery stores. The results show a full 9% life in retail sales from online advertising. That is actually 1% better than they are getting from TV campaigns (as quoted by Information Resources How Advertising Works report).

Through the 2 million strong panel of opt-in comScore consumers who have their online behavior monitored (with the full consent and knowledge, no Big Brother stuff here), comScore and dummhumbyUSA gathered up the data.

Membership cards were the key here and were what allowed the tracking of purchases as the UPC scanners in the grocery stores. They then compared buying patterns of those exposed to versus those not exposed to particular advertising online and were able to calculate the impact those ads had on purchasing behavior. They even went so far as to match up the control group members so that they represented a similar cross-section of the population. The categories of brands included products like cereal, pizza, juice drinks, tea, toothpaste and more.

The unfortunate thing about the whole study is that it took into account all forms of online advertising, text, image and more rich media advertising (my kingdom for a video only study of a similar nature!!) and the study lasted three months.

Aside from the 9% boost to retail sales thanks to the ads, they also found that an overwhelming 80% of online campaigns created noticeable sales increases for the brands. See, all that online ad money isn’t going to waste!

Their results were stood up against TV advertising effectiveness studies done by IRI (BehaviorScan system), where the 8% TV advertising number came from (over the course of a 1-year study).

What’s it mean? Well, with online advertising generally being cheaper than TV ads and its effectiveness being comparable (slightly higher even), it means you can get more bang for your buck online than from television.

Now, let’s hope that comScore is doing the exact same study, only this time focusing only on video advertising online so we can get that true measure of its effectiveness as well. It would certainly help the industry if it has similar results. It could also be the basis of the price adjustment that some people believe needs to be made in order to make it more attractive to advertisers who have not joined in the online video ad arena. Or it might just prove that the price is right!


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