Web proves its branding abilities

The results from three studies show that online ads are an effective brand-building tool

Online advertising can be used effectively for branding as well as generating immediate sales, according to three surveys published last week.

In a presentation in New York – which was webcast – the US Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) teamed up with member companies DoubleClick and MSN to report their individual findings.

The studies focused on the new Interactive Marketing Units (IMUs), for which the IAB issued voluntary guidelines in February. Other elements tested were different technologies and a variety of ad formats.

The IAB study, conducted by Dynamic Logic, found that the new larger ad units are 25 per cent more effective than other size ads at raising key brand elements, such as brand awareness and message association – even after just one exposure. Additional exposures “significantly increase” persuasion elements of the brand, such as purchase intent. The research was based on 8,750 respondents, four advertisers and 12 creative units. Details of the study can be found at www.iab.net.

Other highlights of this study include:

The standard IAB 468 x 60 banner works well for increasing brand awareness, message association, brand favourability and purchase intent.

The new larger IAB IMU formats improve key branding elements by an average of 40 per cent across all three studies compared with baseline measures for the nine advertisers surveyed.

Rich media technologies, such as audio, video, Flash and DHTML used with IMUs, deliver greater impact and conclusively increase branding effectiveness.

Ad implementation makes a difference. Interstitial ads, displayed during a transition from one webpage to the next, boost key brand elements by an average of 194 per cent.

DoubleClick

The goal of DoubleClick’s online marketing effectiveness study was to determine the impact of various online marketing tactics on traditional brand marketing goals. Aggregated results for three brands, across each online marketing tactic tested, showed an 85 per cent increase in prompted advertising awareness. Banner ads increased brand measures 56 per cent and large rectangles 86 per cent. Interstitial ads increased brand measures by 194 per cent.

“As an industry we must begin to accept and use new sizes, formats and page implementation methods as complementary tools for reaching traditional brand marketing objectives,” says Barry Salzman, president of DoubleClick Global Media.

MSN

Working with Dynamic Logic, MSN tested two campaigns with different creative formats and sizes for two advertisers – uBid and ShareBuilder. The study found that the Skyscraper creative size worked best, lifting brand awareness by 16 per cent, four times the average increase among all campaigns Dynamic Logic has tested. The study also found that interactive, DHTML units lifted awareness by 13 per cent, greatly outperforming both the Dynamic Logic average and double the performance of the non-interactive creative in the campaigns.

“Without a doubt, the interactive potential of these new, larger ad units engage consumers in ways no other medium delivers,” says Jed Savage, director of national sales for MSN.

IAB president Robin Webster concludes: “Based on these extensive studies – involving 30 sites, nine advertisers, 170,000 respondents over a two-month period – the evidence is irrefutable that Internet advertising is effective in branding.”

The IAB study was conducted with the help of member companies iWon, MSN, Snowball, CNET Networks, and their advertisers: Coca-Cola, Bristol-Myers Squibb, uBid.com and Genuity.

Webster adds: “The fact that DoubleClick and MSN have chosen to present their own findings along with the IAB’s, reinforces all our commitment to proving interactive advertising works.”

However, Doubleclick has just unveiled its latest financial figures, which indicate its increasing reliance on e-mail marketing. The company doesn’t appear to be betting on a quick recovery for what has always been considered its main area of expertise.

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