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July 26, 2001
Brand Building Online
Three new studies found banner advertising and other online advertising helps build brands

Online advertising can be used effectively for branding, according to three separate research studies presented last week by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, DoubleClick Inc. and MSN. The studies focused on the effectiveness of branding on the Internet as well as the effectiveness of different technologies and ad sizes.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau's study was conducted by Dynamic Logic and based on 8,750 respondents. The survey found:

  • Traditional banner ads increase brand awareness and message-association and can be used effectively with other advertising to launch a product. For example, a banner ad on iWon.com for Vaniqa, a new women's facial hair removal product, lifted brand awareness by 26%, message-association by 57% and purchase intent by 12%.
  • Higher exposure levels (more than one) significantly increase purchase intent and brand favorability.
  • New larger ad formats are 3-6 times more effective than banner ads in lifting brand awareness and message association.
  • Larger ad formats even worked for widely-known brands, boosting message association and purchase intent (the survey used ads for Coca-Cola).

DoubleClick set out to determine the impact of various online marketing tactics on traditional brand marketing goals. Its study was conducted by Diameter, the research division of DoubleClick, and had 153,455 respondents. The survey found the Internet is an effective tool for enhancing brands in the minds of consumers. Other results include:
  • The new larger ad formats have a significant positive impact on the overall brand building effort.
  • The larger ads do the best at increasing brand awareness.
  • Ads made with Flash animation do dramatically better at brand building than audio, video and standard graphic ads; however, the other formats did increase brand awareness, just not as dramatically as the Flash ads.
MSN's study tested two advertising campaigns using a variety of ad formats and sizes. It was conducted by Dynamic Logic and had 170,000 respondents. The key findings include:
  • The skyscraper ad format preformed approximately six times better than the other ad formats in building brand awareness and nearly two times better in message association.
  • Large rich-media ads have the largest impact on brand building and message association.
Overall, the surveys had similar findings: all online advertising can help build brands, bigger ads have more impact and rich-media – including Flash animation, audio and video – increases effectiveness. While these findings are new, many people in the advertising industry have been saying this for a long time. Web surfers may not click on ads they see, but they remember the ads and the messages, and in many cases, they go back to the advertised sites later. The surveys found online advertising is effective for new brands as well as for brands with some market penetration and complete market penetration. The lesson: make online ads part of a full advertising campaign to increase brand awareness, message association and even purchase intent among consumers.

- by Julia M. Duncan