The first study to analyze the combined effects of online, print and TV advertising in a single product campaign found the online component significantly increased the campaign's measurable brand awareness impact.
The study -- a six-week analysis of a Unilever mixed-media campaign for Dove Nutrium bar soap -- concluded that spending 15% of the campaign's TV/print/online budget on the Web resulted in a 24% lift in branding impact.
The study was conducted in October and November by Marketing Evolution, El Dorado Hills, Calif., in conjunction with Microsoft's MSN, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the Advertising Research Foundation, Dynamic Logic, New York, and Dove's agency, WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York. During the project, researchers polled 13,000 randomly selected users of MSN.com.
The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the MSN® network of Internet services, and researcher Rex Briggs announced the results of groundbreaking new research that validates the importance of online advertising.
The culmination of a yearlong investigation of the relative effectiveness of and synergies between online and traditional media advertising, the research found that online advertising's share in the media mix can have a significant increase in the effectiveness of an overall advertising campaign. With the support of ARF and IAB methodology, MSN commissioned Briggs to examine the role the Internet plays in the advertising mix of a consumer package goods brand.
According to a 2001 UCLA Internet Report, the Internet represents 10% to 15% of total media consumption. Most marketers spend 2% to 3% or less of their media budgets to advertise to consumers on the Internet.
Media planners and buyers often were challenged to quantify the benefits of increasing online advertising's share of the media mix. According to sources, the study is one of the first of its kind to measure the effectiveness of recent advertising campaigns by working with Unilever Home & Personal Care's Dove Nutrium Bar in the real world and real time.
Rex Briggs of Marketing Evolution conducted the independent, third-party study with Dynamic Logic Inc., a leading independent research firm focused on advertising effectiveness. Unilever, Web Marketing LLC and Mindshare were engaged in the analysis and assisted to ensure that all Dove's online and offline advertising was properly accounted for and carefully tracked. These are the research conclusions:
- The research suggests that CPG brands that increase their online advertising may result in increased key metrics, such as brand awareness, brand attributes and purchase intent.
- Higher online frequency boosts branding effectiveness. Specifically, increasing the number of online impressions from six impressions to 12 impressions over six weeks can increase Dove Nutrium Bar's overall branding effectiveness by 42 percent.
- TV, print and online advertising are effective at branding, yet online is generally more cost-efficient in terms of branding increases from the precampaign level.
Nick Nyhan, CEO of Dynamic Logic, which conducted the online survey in conjunction with researcher Rex Briggs of Marketing Evolution, said the survey results should encourage marketers to revisit the issue of how online might be effectively used in the larger mix in advertising campaigns. However, he also cautioned that the study's findings could not be extrapolated broadly to other brands, even in packaged goods.
Mr. Nyhan also called for further studies that directly compare the results of print, TV and online efforts.