Study Web Users and Test Programs

by , Apr 22, 2002, 12:00 AM
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Study Web Users and Test Programs

Forrester's Consumer Technographics 2001 North America Retail & Media Online and Mail Studies reveal that the Web is becoming an integral part of consumers’ ordinary routine. A recent Forrester Brief collected and summarized several previous studies to gain an insight into the Internet Consumer. The Brief concludes that marketers should embrace the Internet not only for brand advertising but also by tapping rich data sources for insights into consumers’ needs and motivations.

Consumers increasingly use the Web for even mundane activities like finding recipes and grocery coupons. While TV and newspapers retain their dominance for news, sports, weather, and entertainment information, consumers consistently prefer the Web to magazines and radio. In contrast, advertisers spent $29 billion in magazines and on radio versus $6 billion on the Internet in 2001.

Companies spend more than $19 billion on in-store displays, events, and sampling, but almost a third of online consumers research products on the Internet before going to the store. These consumers have formed preferences before an end-cap has the chance to entice them.

Experience and broadband increase this connection. Consumers with three or more years of Web experience go online at least 10% more frequently for news, weather, or movie listings, while broadband users go online at least 30% more frequently than their dial-up counterparts. Over the next two years, 59% of users will have three or more years of online experience, and 32.1 million households will upgrade to broadband access

Only 55% of consumers have ever clicked on an ad, says the Brief, but the perception that consumers ignore online ads is wrong. Only 35% say that they don’t notice online ads, far better than the 62% that pay little or no attention to TV ads. A recent study showed that if online ads make up 15% of the budget, an integrated TV, print, and online campaign would increase purchase intent by 13%.

The Brief says that marketers should use the lull in online advertising this year to inexpensively test and learn what messages, media mix, and formats are most effective for their products. It concludes that online ads work, and new formats like showcase units, Superstitials, and Surround Sessions provide a range of ad types to fit various marketing objectives.

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