ComScore: Online Ads Lift CPG Sales 9%
Online advertising raises retail sales of consumer packaged-goods by 9% -- one percentage point more than TV ads, according to comScore and DunnhumbyUSA, which monitored the online behavior and CPG purchases of 200,000 consumers (out of comScore's total panel of 2 million).
comScore and Dunnhumby USA collected data on each panelist's purchase behavior via supermarket loyalty cards. Data on purchase decisions can be matched anonymously to data about online behavior through supermarket loyalty cards, which typically identify the holder with a unique number corresponding to a bar code.
The research companies claim this methodology allows them to correlate CPG purchase decisions with exposure to online ad campaigns by comparing the behavior of consumers exposed to CPG ads versus those who didn't. Product categories included cereal, cookie mixes, pizza, juice drinks, snack bars, pasta, tea, deodorants and toothpaste. The brands and products in question were advertised with both static and "rich media" online display ads.
The study found four out of five online CPG display ad campaigns produced some measurable increase in supermarket CPG sales, with an overall sales lift of 9%. This compares with figures of 36% campaign impact and 8% retail lift from TV ads. The latter figure was drawn from a study by Information Resources, based on data collected by IR's BehaviorScan system; like the comScore-Dunnhumby study, IR compared the purchase behaviors of two groups of TV viewers, one of which was exposed to certain TV CPG ad campaigns.
For several years, media researchers have touted the potential of loyalty card systems in combination with behavioral tracking as a way to measure the offline impact of online ads (the effect on "brick-and-mortar" retail sales). This approach can also be piggybacked or combined with coupon incentive systems -- already included in most loyalty programs -- that invite consumers to download virtual coupons to their loyalty account or mobile device.
Most big supermarket chains have moved to offer more coupons via mobile devices and loyalty cards.
In May, Tom Thumb and Randall's -- both owned by Safeway -- revealed they are cooperating with General Mills, Unilever and Kimberly-Clark to offer shoppers 21 coupons for goods like prepackaged tossed salad and children's cereal. Shoppers who have a loyalty card can view and select the digital coupons they want by visiting the store's Web site on their computer or mobile device. The selected coupons are registered on their loyalty account, and automatically deducted when the cashier swipes their loyalty card.
The infrastructure for the system was created by Cellfire, a company specializing in mobile coupon distribution; it also handles operations and other technical issues.