TV vs Superstitial Ads

TV vs Superstitial Ads

A Harris Interactive Communications Whitepaper, released last month, compared superstitials with television commercials in their relationship to brand recall, communication and purchase/usage/consideration. Although they describe the difficulty in making comparisons, Harris partnered with Unicast to compare these two specific media across consistent traditional metrics and provide greater insight as to how to best buy against those objectives.

Using methodology that compared the same brand and type of ad in each medium, Harris concludes that, based on these data, Internet advertising in the form of the superstitial ad unit can accomplish many, if not all, that a television commercial can deliver.

Superstitial ads are liked equally as well as their sister television spots in two of the three test cases.

Ad Likeability

+-------+---------------+------+
|       | Superstitial  | TV   |
+-------+---------------+------+
|       |               |      |
| Ad A  |      43%      | 32%  |
| Ad B  |      34       | 54   |
| Ad C  |      44       | 36   |
+-------+---------------+------+
The respondents rated these Superstitial ads to be more like television advertising and less like web advertising.

Superstitial ad was "TV Like" - 66%
Reminded me of TV ad - 62%
Looked just like other ads on Web - 27%

The data suggest that it is possible to brand as well on the Internet using a Superstitial ad as it is on television, but television does have a moderate advantage.

Brand Recall

+----------+---------------+-----+
|          | Superstitial  | TV  |
|          |      Ad       | Ad  |
+----------+---------------+-----+
| Brand A  |      90%      | 90% |
| Brand B  |      77       | 94  |
| Brand C  |      86       | 88  |
+----------+---------------+-----+
For two of the three brands tested, there were virtually no differences on the majority of dimensions, suggesting that, accounting for copy, the superstitial ads can communicate similarly to a television commercial. The differences in the findings were consistent with known media differences between television and the Internet.

Respondents were asked their level of intent to purchase. Basically, both the superstitial and television ad units generated very comparable levels on each of these measures "based on seeing this ad."

Positive Purchase Intent

+----------+--------------+-----+
|          | Superstitial | TV  |
|          | Ad           | Ad  |
+----------+--------------+-----+
| Brand A  | 17%          | 14% |
| Brand B  | 23           | 25  |
| Brand C  | 10           | 15  |
+----------+--------------+-----+
The study concludes that both superstitial and television advertising units accomplish very similar goals when measured comparably using the same metrics, but evaluated within the context of cost per ad unit and cost to air.


- Superstitial ads are more closely related to television commercials than other Internet advertising
- Superstitial ad units can be as likeable as television commercials
- Superstitial units can convey key information about the brand
- Superstitial units are almost equal to television in communicating the brand name
- Superstitials can generate similar levels of interest in purchase, usage and consideration as television advertising.