Ad dollars spent online can increase a product's influence over potential buyers.
The Web bears more influence over consumer purchases than TV and print ads, according to DoubleClick's third Tourchpoints study. Out of 10 product and service categories, those with the highest online purchase influence also had the highest ad dollars committed to the channel.
DoubleClick surveyed Greenfield Online's opt-in panel of 2,110 U.S. adults about their purchases within 10 categories over the previous six months. DoubleClick and ROI Research analyzed results focusing on three phases of the purchase process: initial awareness, information gathering, and purchase decision.
Company Web sites rank among the top-four touchpoints for further learning toward an eventual purchase in eight of 10 product and service categories. Travel, credit card and banking categories score the highest influence for further learning on company Web sites.
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Categories that scored higher influence on the Web also have a higher commitment of online ad spending. "If consumers are exposed to more advertising, more of them are going to cite Internet advertising as an awareness factor," Rick Bruner, director of research at DoubleClick, told ClickZ Stats. "I will concede that the Internet is more likely to work more for certain products than others."
Prescription drugs don't follow the advertising rule; 75 percent of respondents cite their doctor as the greatest influence in their purchase decision. "There's an indirect effect that Internet advertising can have there," says Bruner.
Brick-and-mortar locations rate high on purchase influence for home improvement products (56 percent); consumer electronics (39 percent); and personal and home care products (36 percent).
Recommendations from friends was cited in the research as the single-greatest form of purchase influence. Word-of-mouth has the greatest influence in telecommunications. The experience of ownership is a primary element in making word-of-mouth endorsements an effective tool.
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