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Some new research from Hitwise has given an interesting insight into how an online component in media campaigns can be used to measure the effectiveness of offline ad spend.

The study, which focused on recent activity by Sky, the AA and Orange, shows that offline advertising can heavily influence online behaviour, including site visits and product searches.

This, Hitwise says, means online’s greater measurability can be used to provide more accurate data on offline elements of campaigns, and that offline ads should be integrated with product-driven PPC.

In her blog, its research VP Heather Hopkins says the report’s three key points were that: “Online advertising is a highly effective medium for raising brand awareness and driving brand association; an integrated media approach can maximise the effectiveness of all media spend; and that online usage data, such as visits to websites, search term content and volume relating to a brand can be used for brand research and measurability of offline spend.

The report, conducted by Hitwise in association Yahoo! Search Marketing and i-level, added: “One of the great appeals of online advertising is its measurability and one of the key takeaways from this analysis is the application of online usage data for brand research, to gauge the overall return on a campaign and to measure the impact of offline campaigns.

The Sky campaign featured in the research included both online and offline advertising in late 2005, and found the strongest result was achieved online. Searches for the Sky brand increased by 20% and above, while searches for the Sky URL more than doubled. However, a previous phase of the campaign, which ran without any online activity in the previous March and April, did not generate the same lift in searches.

Also studied, meanwhile, were press ads run by Orange which Hitwise says demonstrate how integrated campaigns can drive brand awareness and association. The ads promoted a specific mobile phone handset and led to an increase in searches for that handset. Hitwise found that Orange Shop competitors did not benefit from the product-related searches nearly as much as Orange.

In the AA’s campaign, TV ads focusing on the group’s car insurance services prompted a 70% increase in the share of searches that included The AA’s brand and the keywords “car insurance”.

Hopkins wrote: “By calculating the increase in searches for "aa insurance" and "aa car insurance" versus the increase in awareness spend advertisers can better understand the impact of ad spend on brand awareness.

We found that from December 2005 (the month with the lowest total spend) to February 2006 (the month with the highest total spend), share of searches for "aa car insurance" increased three fold while total spend increased 11 fold. Television advertising made up the greatest increase from a base of zero in December to 57% of the total spend in February.

"Also, from January to February 2006, share of internet searches for "aa car insurance" increased 25% while TV spend increased 134% and total spend increased 86%.

Hitwise monitors the internet usage habits of more than 8m UK consumers.


Published 28 September, 2006 by Richard Maven

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