Study: Online Marketing Can Increase Offline Buying and Purchase Intent

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Online marketing can increase purchase intent, brand awareness and advertising awareness among consumer packaged goods consumers, according to a study released by Web research firm comScore Networks last week.

Performed in conjunction with Nestle Purina PetCare Co., St. Louis, comScore's research was based on a study of integrated online and offline behavioral data for a large sample of opt-in consumers.

Offline purchase data were supplied through a partnership with Knowledge Networks, Inc., Menlo Park, CA, for more than 50,000 consumers within comScore's global panel of more than 1.5 million continuously measured, opt-in Internet users.

ComScore's study measured the relationship between offline buying history and future purchase intent versus use of Nestle Purina Web sites and exposure to Nestle Purina's online marketing of various Purina brands.

The study found that people exposed to Purina banner ads were almost 50 percent more likely to volunteer Purina as the first dog food brand that came to mind. It found that 36 percent of dog owners who were exposed to banner ads that advertise Purina ONE brand dog food would "definitely or probably buy the brand" versus just 24 percent of those who did not see the advertising.

Finally, the study found that certain Web sites were more attractive than others for advertising designed to reach certain buyer groups. More than 10,000 Web domains were rated for the likelihood of reaching offline brand buyers, and results varied significantly across sites. For example, Purina buyers were 18 percent to 22 percent more likely than the average Web user to visit in a given month.

Packaged goods companies spend just 1 percent to 5 percent of their total advertising budgets online. This should change, according to comScore.

"Online advertising right now is under-leveraged and [packaged goods marketers] should go out and experiment with higher levels of online advertising," said Erin Hunter, San Francisco-based vice president of industry relations at comScore. "They need to go out and get a specific road map of where their customers are and how they use the Internet and then buy advertising that specifically targets those consumers."

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