Canadian Study: Traditional DM Tactics Affect Banner Results

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The use of traditional direct marketing tactics such as multiple creative and testing has a measurable effect on the success of online banner advertising campaigns, according to a study by the Toronto-based Canadian Marketing Association released yesterday.

"Multiple creative and testing are as necessary in online advertising as they are in other, more traditional marketing media," said Jay Aber, chair of the CMA e-Marketing Council and president of 24/7 Canada. "Overall, the major lesson we learned was that any marketer who runs a single execution of online creative and doesn't test is making a serious mistake, since it is virtually impossible to accurately predict which creative variations would outperform another."

The CMA tested 80 cells of unique banner ad variations featuring the Corel WordPerfect Office Suite that appeared on various consumer, small-business, investment and financial news sites managed by 24/7.

Daniel G. Wiest, vice president of integrated communications at AMW Direct & Interactive, oversaw the test creative development with a team at McDonnell Haynes Advertising. Conclusions drawn from the study include:

· "Free shipping" did not consistently perform as well as other top response generators.

· Short copy worked better than long copy, despite long-copy banner ads containing a more benefits-focused headline.

· As demonstrated by the low response rates to some of the test banner ads, having several banner executions available is critical.

· The typeface or font used in banner ads did not greatly affect response, though top-performing creative tends to use sans-serif typefaces.

· "Dollars off" offers pulled stronger response rates than banner ads with no monetary offer.

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