Study: Online Cooks Seek Utility in Online Ads

  |  October 29, 2010   |  Comments

Devoted chefs are most engaged by coupons, nutrition information, and other value-adds, says About.com.

A new study from About.com finds active online cooks are good targets for online grocery and food-related coupon. Among its specific findings: advertisers should include nutrition information, coupons, and other value-adds if they really want to capture cooks' attention.

The study examined online behaviors and what types of ads were most engaging to a group About.com refers to as “Real Cooks,” defined as those who “constantly [seek] new recipes, products and cooking techniques.”

Evan Minskoff, VP of marketing at The New York Times Company's About Group, which houses About.com, says the 1,150 study participants were predominantly women ages 25 to 54. Nearly 40 percent of these home cooks prepare meals every day. And more than half search for recipes at least once a week.

About.com’s 2010 Food and Cooking Study found that Real Cooks are most drawn to online food and product ads that include printable coupons and nutritional value information. Sixty-six percent of respondents said this was the most important feature.

Other appealing ads, per the survey, were as follows: ads with product information, ingredients or nutritional value (62 percent); ads that offer sample products (45 percent); and ads with printable recipes or shopping lists (35 percent). Only 7 percent of respondents said they liked ads with recipe videos.

Minskoff says coupons are so much more appealing than videos because cooks care about nutrition and value. “So those nutrition and savings benefits are actionable benefits for consumers cooking right now, and tomorrow and the next day,” he says.

Therefore, adding utility through printable coupons or nutritional information can help advertisers increase the odds of engaging intent-driven cooks.

About.com also found that online grocery ads inspire action among online cooks: 40 percent of respondents clicked on the ad; 37 percent printed the coupon; 35 percent tried and/or purchased a product for the first time; 33 percent did more research on a product; and 28 percent searched for locations where they could purchase the product.

What’s more, About.com found the top influencer for grocery purchases is healthy ingredients. Sixty-three percent of Real Cooks use foods and recipes they consider to be nutritious, low-carb or low-calorie and said nutrition is a leading driver for cooking at home.

And, while budgets are still important, consumer preference for name brands is up 32 percent from last year. Minskoff says this was the case because “trust, quality and taste are constant themes among respondents to this study."

The results are applicable to a range of advertisers. About.com says the average Real Cook shops at four different types of stores, including supercenters, membership warehouses and health/natural foods stores.

This is the first year About.com has conducted a study focusing solely on food and cooking. In the past, it was part of a larger DIY study.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Lacy

Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.

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