DoubleClick Teams with Offline Analysis Firm

DoubleClick will team with a major offline consumer goods analytics firm to tell offline marketers how online advertising campaign affect their sales.

Through the agreement, which was announced Thursday, Information Resources Inc., will combine its panel-based analysis of offline consumer packaged goods (CPG) sales with DoubleClick’s ad targeting.

IRI provides CPG manufacturers, retailers and brokers with UPC equipment and marketing information and analysis. Its Shoppers’ Hotline consumer panel contains about 55,000 U.S. households, which it tracks and from which it extrapolates to provide information to clients.

DoubleClick will deliver targeted ads CPG ads to a subset of that panel, while IRI observes the group’s spending — thus enabling the program to correlate consumers’ Internet activity with their purchasing behavior.

“This alliance combines the unique research capabilities of IRI with the sophisticated targeting capabilities of DoubleClick to provide CPG companies with a cost-effective tool to measure the impact of online advertising on product purchases,” said Greg Ellis, vice president and general manager of research at DoubleClick.

The companies said this program can offer insights into the effectiveness of Internet promotions and their impact on consumer buying habits.

“As brand managers integrate the Internet into the marketing mix for their brands, they will need to know how this medium compares to traditional media,” said Lana Busignani, senior vice president for strategic business development at IRI. The project “can help them understand the responsiveness of their brands to Internet advertising and whether or not it demonstrates a return for their investment.”

As with any panel-based study, however, there remains the issue of whether consumers behave differently when they know they’re being observed. But with several research groups reporting that CPG ad spending will exceed $1 billion annually by 2003, panel-based researchers are willing to take that chance.

The deal boosts IRI’s Internet product research capabilities, which it has through deals with analysis firms Forrester Research and PC Data.

Many online marketing companies are working to integrate ways of studying offline purchasing behavior and correlating that to online marketing efforts. Pay-for-performance ad network ValueClick recently acquired metrics firm StraightUP!; the company helps clients analyze their Web traffic data and offline sales numbers, with an eye to optimizing online ad campaigns.

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