Beyond Clicks and Impressions: Examining theRelationship Between Online Advertising andBrand Building Executive Summary Advertisers increasingly think of online as a place to build their brands, but need greater confidence that their online investments are helping them achieve their brand goals. This paper explores both the role of online ads in brand building, as well as the best metrics for measuring the success of Internet ads against marketers’ goals. Leveraging Nielsen’s advertising effectiveness solutions to examine this relationship, the following conclusions will be discussed in this paper: 1. Click-through rate is not the right metric to measure brand impact – virtually no relationship exists between clicks and brand metrics or offline sales. 2. There is emerging evidence that brand metrics in response to online campaigns are correlated with offline sales impact. 3. Online ads can succeed in driving brand impact, though success is not guaranteed and advertisers must embrace new online branding metrics to separate themselves from the competition.Advertisers are lives – they access online at work (nearly 27 hours per user per month), on mobile But what’s interesting is this growth is not only from e-commerce advertisers lookingincreasingly building (43 percent of US adults now own smart- to generate web traffic or drive sales. phones), and even concurrently with other The Cambridge Group report also showsbrands online media (20% of U.S. adults watch TV while that in 2011 54 percent of those surveyedThere’s an old adage that advertisers using either a PC or mobile device on a believe online ads are highly effective atfollow consumers’ eyeballs, and over daily basis, according to the Media Behav- “enhancing brand/product image,” com-the course of the last 10 years, there has ior Institute USA TouchPoints study.) pared to just 38 percent of respondents incertainly been a remarkable rise in the a 2008 version of the study. As consum- Additionally, more and more advertisingnumber of consumers online and the ers have integrated the Internet into their dollars are finding their way online. In theamount of time they’re spending there. lives, advertisers are increasingly inter- 2011 Advertising Outlook published by ested in ways to better reach consumers,Since 2003, the number of Americans The Cambridge Group (a Nielsen com- deliver messages, and build ongoingwith Internet access has grown 34 percent pany), a survey of over 300 advertising relationships through this medium. Infrom 186.7 million to 249.3 million, ac- decision-makers from a variety of indus- other words, these advertisers are lookingcording to Nielsen. This growth has not tries indicates that digital budgets have to truly build their brands online.come in a vacuum – online has increas- increased more than any other type ofingly become integrated into consumers’ media in 2011.
How do online ads Despite some claims that “no one pays attention to online ads,” Nielsen research Nielsen research also shows that online ads often increase overall awareness forimpact consumer shows that the average increase between the advertised brand. This is an especially the control and exposed groups is highest important factor in driving new productattitudes? for Ad Recall, an indication that consum- success – clearly, consumers must becomeOne of the key questions weighing on ers do remember exposure to an online ad aware of a new product before they canadvertisers’ minds is, “Are my online brand campaign. It should come as no surprise buy it.ads working?” To answer this question, that the first step to influencing consum- The “lower funnel metrics” – Brand Favor-Nielsen analyzed results from over 500 ers through advertising is ensuring that ability and Purchase Intent —are far moreonline ad campaigns measured by Nielsen they notice and remember the ad itself. difficult to influence than Awareness,Online Brand Effect over the last year and The next question brand advertisers want Recall and Association, given that thesea half. to answer is whether online ad campaigns metrics require a change in consumerIn short, the answer is yes. Brand ads do can actually change the opinions and opinion or behavior.on average succeed in moving the needle intentions of consumers. Following Ad for most measured Brand Effect metrics, Recall, Message Association showed theas shown in Figure 3. next highest average change, indicating that online ads can also succeed in con- veying a brand’s intended message. Figure 3: Average Online Brand Effect Results 6% 4% 3% 1% -1% Brand Message Purchase Brand Ad Recall Awareness Association Consideration Favorability Well-executed online advertising can drive branding metrics. Source: Nielsen4