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Web Ads: Branding Trumps Clicks

Rich Ord
CEO, iEntry, Inc.
Published: 2004-10-08

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Internet advertising is often thought of as direct marketing, unlike magazine ads. Of course, this concept makes zero sense and advertisers are finally beginning to come to terms with this reality.

Branded Shoulder
Web Ad Branding Heating Up

Gives your thoughts and experiences with the effects of branding in Internet advertising. Click Here.

It's not just about clicks and immediate response, it's about noticing the ad, becoming interested in the product, wanting the product and then taking an action that leads to a purchase of the product.

Is there any logic as to why many advertisers who spend tons of money on pretty magazine ads that deliver only branding often do not give this same credit to web and email ads? Well, the answer is that Internet ads can be tracked right down to the purchase. However, this does not mean that these Internet ads that are delivering instant results don't also deliver a less measurable result called branding. It is plain and simple, if branding is worth something on TV or in magazines, then branding is also a value when advertising on the internet. It should be obvious by now that clicks are really the lesser part of the story when it comes to Internet advertising.

An article recently featured in WebProNews focused on a study that measured eye movement when viewing a web page. The study concluded, "that even if ads aren't being clicked, they can perform well for branding purposes". The study showed that people do read and focus on web ads, even ones they don't click.

Compared to web-based eBusiness publications many advertisers still put more dollars into magazines. For instance, IBM advertises heavily in magazines, moderately on the Internet and very little in email newsletters. In eWeek Magazine I saw an IBM ad picturing a ThinkPad with an air bag coming out of it. They have a tracking url in the ad but I doubt they hold eWeek accountable for immediate results. It is obviously about branding.

All of this can and is done in web and email marketing, but most advertisers seemingly care less about the branding effects and measure only clicks and instant conversions in their online campaigns. This approach is changing with some marketers, especially in consumer areas such as automobiles.

I ran across a good article in ClickZ by Jupiter Research analyst Julian Smith that concludes, "…The Internet still only complements traditional brand-building channels such as TV and print… But with increasingly fragmented media consumption, these media can't do it alone. Media must be more fully integrated, often with online at the core."

A study by Dynamic Logic for the European Interactive Advertising Association analyzed 200 online ad campaigns quantifying the impact of branding. On average online advertising boosts brand awareness (+5.4%), ad recall (+45.3%), message association (+21.6%), brand favorability (+5.6%) and purchase intent (+4.9%). The study shows similar results for both U.S. and European online branding. These are numbers that prove the powerful impact of web and email advertising.

A report by ReasearchAndMarkets.com states, "Despite the "interactive" label tagged onto Internet advertising, the process of judging an online ad campaign's results often means discarding often-paltry immediate responses. Several ad companies measure the view-through rate, which considers actions taken by users within 30 days of viewing an ad. As the declining click-through and rising view-through numbers show, consumers are more likely to respond slowly than right away." Again, the branding impact of online ads now trump clicks as the core reason companies should advertise on the Internet.

If advertisers can accomplish branding and get immediate response via the Internet, especially with email newsletter marketing, why not do more of it? A case can be made that the side benefit of branding is actually more powerful than the so-called main benefit of direct response.

At iEntry, our internal estimates are that clicks and immediate response account for 20-30% of the value of a web or email newsletter ad. That means up to 80% of the return for an advertiser comes from increased awareness, recall, favorability and purchase intent… or you could just say … BRANDING.

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About the Author:
Rich Ord is the CEO of iEntry, Inc. which publishes over 200 websites and email newsletters.

Rich also publishes his blog WebProBlog which focuses on internet business and marketing trends.

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