Making the Case for Moving Money Online

The online advertising continued its push to show how increasing interactive media’s share of marketing budgets can pay big dividends.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released two new case studies on Monday, finding that traditional marketers can increase their sales and brand awareness by bumping up their online advertising expenditures to between 10 and 15 percent of their marketing budgets, and reducing expenditures slightly on pricier advertising vehicles, such as television.

“What we’re now starting to understand is that online isn’t just a reinforcement to TV advertising, it can also reach people who aren’t reached by TV,” said Rex Briggs, principal of Marketing Evolution, who conducted the study with Dynamic Logic.

The case studies, for Colgate-Palmolive’s Total toothpaste and Kimberly-Clark’s Kleenex Soft Pack tissues, build on earlier research done on the effect of increasing the interactive component in campaigns for Dove’s Nutrium soap last February and McDonald’s flatbread chicken sandwich in October.

The IAB intends for the “cross media optimization studies” to convince large, traditional advertisers to spend a larger portion of their media budgets on online advertising. As it is, traditional companies use only around two percent of their marketing budgets online.

“Online is dramatically under-leveraged and that’s a huge strategic opportunity,” Briggs said.

For Colgate Total, researchers examined a campaign to get occasional and non-users of the toothpaste to buy Total. They found that Colgate could increase purchase intent by 4.3 percent by dedicating 11 percent of the ad budget to online. If the campaign relied solely on offline media, the purchase-intent increase would be only 3.4 percent. In addition, the study found that, unsurprisingly, television was an expensive medium for encouraging consumer purchase decisions. If used alone to reach an objective, it cost 23 percent more than it would have, had it been used in conjunction with an online component.

The study concludes that Colgate’s 11 percent increase in online spending yielded a 20 percent increase in purchase intent and a 34 percent lift in brand image

For Kleenex, the study looked at a campaign designed to increase brand awareness of the tissues and drive trial use. The research showed how online and magazine advertising can be used to reach consumers left untouched by TV campaigns. Online and magazine advertising helped to increase brand awareness, purchase intent, and willingness to trial. Researchers found increasing online and magazine advertising gave a 24 percent increase in brand awareness; a 19 percent increase in brand image; a 40 percent increase in purchase intent; and a 27 percent in intent to purchase and trial.

The study concludes that the optimal media mix for Kleenex has 10 percent of spending earmarked for online.

The IAB plans to open a new section of its Web site to publicize the four case studies it has undertaken so far. Further studies in the works involve AstraZeneca, Universal Home Video, and ING.

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