Online Display Drives as Many CPG Sales as TV

Online display advertising can improve sales of consumer packaged goods by up to nine percent, and may outperform TV campaigns in terms of sales uplift, according to research by comScore and consumer goods marketing consultancy dunnhumbyUSA.

Using a sample of 200,000 comScore panelists in conjunction with data from supermarket loyalty programs, the two companies compared the purchasing behavior of users exposed to online CPG ads against those who did not see the ads.

Over the course of a three-month period, the study found that online ad campaigns featuring static ads and rich media units boosted supermarket sales of the advertised goods by an average of 9 percent. The firms claim this compares to an average lift of 8 percent for TV advertising, across a 12 month period, citing research by Information Resources. In addition, around 80 percent of the online ad campaigns analyzed resulted in “statistically significant” sales increases for the advertised brands, the pair said.

Though the specific campaigns and brands being monitored were not disclosed, they included a range of product categories, such as cereal, cookie mixes, pizza, juice drinks, snack bars, pasta, tea, deodorants, and toothpaste. DunnhumbyUSA clients include brands such as Coca-Cola, General Mills, Kimberly-Clark, PepsiCo, and Procter & Gamble.

Commenting on the research, comScore executive chairman, Gian Fulgoni, said the targeting capabilities afforded through online ads was the key advantage over television advertising, and suggested that “when you take into account the fact that online advertising is generally less costly than television, these results take on even greater significance.”

CPG firms have traditionally been slow, and perhaps reluctant to integrate digital advertising into their marketing mix, while more direct-response orientated sectors, such as financial services, have typically invested more heavily. In addition, with marketers currently under increased pressure to justify ad spend during difficult economic conditions, more accountable mediums such as search have been attracting the lion’s share of ad spend.

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