New comScore research demonstrates that online ads boost offline sales.
(Chart: Web Ads Boost In-Store Sales, Too - comScore)
Magid Abraham, president, CEO and co-founder of comScore, Inc (a global Internet information provider), recently concluded an exhaustive research that tracked the online behavior of over two million users worldwide. Essentially, comScore installed tracking software on the participants' PCs and were given explicit permission to observe their online activities. The data points included, but are not exclusive to (a) sites visited (b) searches conducted (c) transactions made, and (d) content viewed.
comScore's comprehensive tracking helped uncover how online advertising influences consumer behavior, both in online and offline sales. We all know that measuring the online sales of an online ad or a paid-search campaign is very straightforward - go to Analytics and you'll get your data. But what's incisively interesting is how comScore was able to analyze the offline sales impact of the online ad/paid-search campaign; by conducting surveys and drawing on the participants' profiles in buyer databases, comScore demonstrates how offline sales can be tracked back to online advertising.
Three conclusions were drawn from the study (see chart above for reference):
1. People buy more from exposure to search ads than to offline display ads.
2. Search ads are generally more costly per impression than offline display ads.
3. Using both types of ads in one campaign increases sales more than the two, added together, do in separate campaigns.
This timely research should embolden company executives to shift more dollars to online advertising. Conversely, a big lesson for firms like ours is that integration is the name of the game. Offline and online advertising should be consistent in its messaging to bolster its cumulative effect.