Research Behind the Numbers: Branding Effect

In June, the IAB, MSN, and DoubleClick held a joint press conference to unveil a group of separately conducted online branding studies. The results showed that advertisers can not only improve the position of their brand with Internet advertising, but simultaneously generate a residual, synergistic impact across all marketing channels. Admittedly focused on the IAB goal of “fostering the use and acceptance of interactive advertising,” the studies claimed ad effectiveness improvement with varying results based on size, shape, placement, technique, and strength of the creativity.

The IAB study, conducted by Dynamic Logic, found that larger ad units are 25 percent more effective in lifting key brand metrics such as brand awareness and message association—even at one exposure. And, additional exposures significantly increase persuasion metrics such as purchase intent.

The DoubleClick study set out to determine the impact of online marketing tactics on traditional brand marketing goals. That study reveals that the Internet is an effective tool for enhancing brands in the minds of consumers. Aided brand awareness, aided advertising awareness, ad attribute recall, and ad recall all increased using the new techniques.

The MSN Study found that the Skyscraper size lifted brand awareness by 16 percent, four times the average among all campaigns Dynamic Logic had tested. The study also found that interactive DHTML units lifted awareness by 13 percent, greatly outperforming the Dynamic Logic average and doubling the performance of the noninteractive creative in the campaigns.

Meanwhile, CNET Networks proved that interactive advertising infused with rich media produced a 42 percent ad recall, an increase of 30 percent in brand recognition and a 55 percent increase in brand awareness. Purchase consideration improved 12 percent over control groups.

All in all, more, larger, richer is better. Duh! But more significantly, according to the reports, every important marketing aspect of branding is enhanced and successful with Internet advertising. Robin Webster, IAB president and CEO, concluded that “based on these extensive studies including 30 sites, 9 advertisers, and 170,000 respondents over a two-month period, the evidence is irrefutable that Internet advertising is effective in branding.”

For the cynics, it is true that the studies tested only “aided” ad awareness and generally appeared immediately after seeing the ad under scrutiny. The reports also don’t consider advertising decay, a measurement of the amount of time it takes for an impression to be forgotten by a viewer. Nor did they consider consumer annoyance with obtrusive ads, or ads with a long download time. But that’s for another time.

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