Despite persistent questions about Web ads’ branding power, and in spite of negative consumer reaction to ads like X10’s “pop-under,” Internet users in general actually find Web and wireless ads useful, according to a study conducted in Europe by Datamonitor.
After polling 4,260 European residents who remembered having seen or received an online or wireless ad in the last six months, Datamonitor found that more than half — 64 percent — responded to the ad through either a request for information or an outright purchase, at least once.
In particular, consumers responded particularly well to ads from consumer packaged goods manufacturers. Targeted ads from CPG manufacturers brought about a 79 percent conversion rate in those polled.
The findings stand in stark contrast to concerns about Internet ads’ efficacy — whether seeing an online ad has any effect on consumers’ offline behavior. That issue has been the subject of numerous industry-sponsored and third-party studies, such as Datamonitor’s. Just Wednesday, the Interactive Advertising Bureau endorsed research from DoubleClick, Dynamic Logic and MSN supporting Web ads’ brand-building potential.
However, the Datamonitor survey did find that some offline media remained better at specific promotions. Ironically, one of those cases was for Web site promotion: 79 percent of respondents said TV, word of mouth and newspapers were the sources from which they most often decided to visit a Web site.
Less effective were radio ads, direct mail and out-of-home ads. Web ads fared about as well as magazine ads, falling between newspapers and radio.
According to the study’s authors, both findings suggest that interactive ads have not only arrived, but that media buyers need to consider them in their overall marketing spend.
“New media marketing is an important and growing channel, but integration with more traditional, offline advertising is essential,” said Piers Berezai, who is consumer market analyst at Datamonitor’s London office. “Two factors highlight this fact; offline advertising is crucial in driving online traffic, and the audiences for online advertising are often different from those for offline.”
“The question is now not whether new media marketing is effective, but how to integrate it into the whole marketing strategy,” he said, adding that ensuring cross-media messages are both consistent and accurately targeted “is key.”
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