Online Ads: A Source of Further Learning for Consumers

Online advertising ROI (define) could be off if it doesn’t take into account subsequent Web site visits or in-store visits. That’s according to Doubleclick‘s fourth annual “Touchpoints” study.

More consumers (8 percent) see online ads as a source of further learning than product discovery (4 percent). Consumers do respond to online advertising, though not necessarily at the time of the impression. Sixty-one percent navigate to a site some time after viewing an ad, while only 30 percent click on the ad to get more information at the time of viewing. Sixty-seven percent report going to a store location to learn more about a particular product. The study warns marketers to include those activities in metrics for calculating ROI.

“It is something real, it is something trackable, and it is something that with a control group can be observed,” said Rick Bruner, research director at DoubleClick.

Emerging media can play a role in consumer interest. Online video is viewed by 43 percent of survey respondents, and the same number send text messages and use cell phones. Thirty-eight percent view online video on portable players. In terms of video advertising, 43 percent of respondents watch movie trailers in online ads “all the time,” “frequently,” or “sometimes.” Only 9 percent play with interactive Web ads.

“There is room for new content online and flexibility in a new pricing model, to me suggests there is a lot of room for growth for dollars in video,” said Brunner. “Plus all that money coming from TV advertising looking to find a new home.”

Some verticals respond to Web advertising more effectively than others. The Web is the most influential factor for decision-making in the travel category, in which air travel, hotels, and rental cars show positive purchase behavior from Web advertising. TV plays a stronger role, however, in promoting movie ticket sales. And service-oriented verticals such as investments and telecommunications respond more positively to word of mouth.

DoubleClick’s “Touchpoints IV” study, conducted in July, is based on a survey of 6,121 adults over 18. Respondents, all Internet users, were solicited from an opt-in panel of online research participants.