Study: CPG Manufacturers Proficient at Web Advertising

Consumer packaged goods manufacturers are proving to be some of the most adept online advertisers, according to a new study by ad measurement firm Dynamic Logic.

Based on nearly 70,000 interviews and 27 ad campaigns from clients like Procter & Gamble and Nabisco, New York-based Dynamic Logic found that CPG advertisers were typically better at increasing their brand awareness and consumers’ purchase intent than the average online marketer.

According to the study, CPG firms’ online ads boosted association by 19 percent, seven percent more than the overall average. Likewise, in the area of purchase intent, CPG campaigns boasted a five percent lift, while the industry norm is one percent.

So what makes CPG manufacturers — who are typically thought of as being large, slow-moving conglomerates, and who certainly have been longtime stalwarts of traditional marketing methods — so effective at online advertising?

Nick Nyhan, president at Dynamic Logic, chalked it up to a combination of that offline experience with Internet advertising’s inherent branding potential.

“Traditional advertisers incorporate everything they have learned over years of experimentation,” Nyhan said. “The tools of advertising may be new, but the rules of how people think are pretty much the same.”

If that’s indeed the case, then it’s a powerful argument in favor of Web advertising players, who have been straining to convince advertisers that like TV, radio and print, they provide a branding service rather than a direct marketing channel.

Additionally, the Dynamic Logic study suggests that online advertising might be getting a bad rap because creatives aren’t as well-designed as they should be — a common complaint by industry leaders.

Instead, creators of online advertising could stand to take a page from the techniques used in CPG ads.

For one, Dynamic Logic found that CPG creatives in general were less cluttered — most had fewer than the average 16 elements. Additionally, they always had a visible, consistent logo; often incorporated a picture of a human face; and often used interactive qualities beyond directions to ‘click here’ — such as buttons or drop down menus.

All of these factors contributed to greater message association, according to the study. Message association grew 35 percent with a less-cluttered ad (versus an overall average of 23 percent), while consistent logo use increased message association by 37 percent, 20 percent higher than those with inconsistent logo use.

Additionally, Dynamic Logic said it found interactivity ads to improve awareness, favorability, purchase intent and message association.

While this last conclusion isn’t unexpected, Dynamic Logic’s director of research and product development Molly Hislop warned that advertisers should conduct their own studies, since “there is no secret formula that works for everyone.”

The study also comes as a loud validation of some of the marketing work that CPG firms are doing online. But an earlier study by Harris Interactive and PERT Survey Research found that CPG companies often over-deliver in another portion of their Web marketing budget — their site design.

That earlier survey suggested that spending on user “experiences” on their Web sites does little to help their cause, since users usually come to a manufacturer’s Web site seeking product information or coupons, rather than an interactive game or message board.

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