New research suggests that Internet can complement traditional advertising media

In a joint presentation to agency and corporate advertising executives, the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the MSN network of Internet services from Microsoft and researcher Rex Briggs have announced the results of groundbreaking new research. These validate the importance of online advertising. The exercise, which took a year to compile, examined the relative effectiveness of and synergies between online and traditional media advertising.

The research found that online advertising's share in the media mix can have a significant increase in the effectiveness of an overall advertising campaign. With the support of ARF and IAB methodology, MSN commissioned award-winning researcher Rex Briggs of Marketing Evolution to examine the role the Internet plays in the advertising mix of a consumer package goods brand.

Although recent studies have proven that online advertising is an effective branding medium, the research marks one of the first times online advertising was studied in tandem within an overall advertising campaign and therefore provides more realistic results.

An official release states that until the results of the research, media planners and buyers often were challenged to quantify the benefits of increasing online advertising's share of the media mix. The study is one of the first of its kind to measure the effectiveness of recent advertising campaigns by working with Unilever Home & Personal Care's Dove Nutrium Bar in the real world and in real time.

Briggs conducted the independent, third-party study with Dynamic Logic Inc., a leading independent research firm focused on advertising effectiveness. Unilever, Web Marketing LLC and Mindshare were engaged in the analysis and assisted to ensure that all Dove's online and offline advertising was properly accounted for and carefully tracked.

Here are some of the research conclusions:

1. The research suggests that CPG brands that increase their online advertising may result in increased key metric, such as brand awareness, brand attributes and purchase intent.

2. Higher online frequency boosts branding effectiveness. Specifically increasing the number of online impressions from six impressions to 12 impressions over six weeks can increase Dove Nutrium Bar's overall branding effectiveness by 42 per cent.

The results of this research are considered valuable to the ad fraternity because they demonstrate that the Internet can dramatically improve a brand's ROI on overall marketing when it is a significant part of the overall media mix.

Greg Stuart, president and CEO IAB said: "We believe this landmark research is so important that we have already gotten agreement from the entire IAB board and other members to conduct a Phase II study with more than 15 publishers and six major marketers."

Rex Biggs works with Marketing Evolution. It is a marketing measurement consultancy focused on helping marketers increase overall performance offline and online. MSN claims to attract more than 270 million unique users worldwide per month. It also claims availability in 34 markets and 18 languages. Founded in 1996, the IAB is American industry's leading interactive advertising association and represents companies that sell over 70 percent of online advertising. Founded in 1936, the ARF claims to be the pre-eminent American industry organisation in the field of advertising, marketing and media research.

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