Online Ads vs. Traditional Ads – Which is More Effective?


McPheters & Company sent out a press release last week stating that TV and Magazine Ads are more effective than online advertisements –  specifically banner and video ads.

They worked in cooperation with Conde Nast (who happens to be the parent company for Vogue, Glamour,  and a few – well make that around 20+ big name mags) and CBS Vision to conduct the study, which used an “experimental methodology to explore the relative effectiveness of ads on TV, in magazines and on the internet.” hmmmm….experimental methodology huh? Wonder how this will turn out.

No surprises.  Their group of respondents spent 30 minutes either watching a selection of sitcoms, reading a magazine of their choice, or surfing the internet at will . At the end, they were tested for recall.

Here’s some of their findings:

  • 85% of internet ads served appeared on-screen and could be identified by brand.
  • Though TV doesn’t deliver as many ads per half hour as do magazines, net recall of TV ads was almost twice that of magazine ads; magazines in turn had ad recall almost three times that of Internet banner ads
  • Among web users, 63% of banner ads were not seen. Respondents’ eyes passed over 37% of the internet ads and stopped on slightly less than a third of them.
  • Internet video ads appeared much less frequently than banner ads, and exposure skewed heavily toward young men. When they did appear they were twice as likely to be seen as banner ads.

When it came to exposure effectiveness, the study found that a full color ad had 83% of  the value of a 30-sec commercial, while a “typical” internet banner ad has 16% of the value.

Scott McDonald, Senior VP for Conde Nast concluded –

“Because different media deliver ad impressions at vastly different rates, this study provides clear evidence that time spent with a medium does not translate into value for advertisers. It also indicates that magazine advertising is undervalued relative to its effectiveness.”

Ok, that’s a fair point (assuming you’re not in charge of a advertising based publising medium, oops! you are!) – but lets assume a 30 sec commercial goes for 300k, give or take and not including production costs, during a prime time sitcom – with a reach of 14,000,000 viewers. That’s about $0.02 per impression for TV.  A 4 color, full page ad in Vogue goes for around $ 128,000 – with 1.2M subscription and newstand magazines sold each month. That boils down to about $ .10 per impression. *disclaimer: I don’t work with tv advertising on a regular basis, so these numbers may be slightly off …

The one thing they left out of this “experimental study” is a DVR or TiVO. Oh, and conversion data.  Hmmm…which advertising medium gives THAT to you? Not tv, not magazines, not direct mail.  Only online.  AND, in most cases, you’re only paying for the ads that people click on, not the ones people skip past, or never read – like those in magazines or TV. I wonder what the “ACTUAL” cost per conversion is for those marketing channels. Something tells me we’ll never know.

Personally, I’ve got nothing against all forms of advertising as I think there is no perfect solution one way or the other. I just feel the need to point out when I see artificial studies done with “experimental techniques” by companies that have a vetted interest in the findings.

Your thoughts?


2 Responses to “Online Ads vs. Traditional Ads – Which is More Effective?”

  1. beepayket Says:

    now in my rss reader)))
    internet signature:

  2. Jim, I own a car dealership Says:

    I would say that the statistic 78% of people shopping for new vehicles or used vehicles begins online or by smart phone says this is definitely the Premier advertising source. And with the explosion of tablets of all makes and models it’s only going to increase

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