August 21, 2008, 12:00 AM

Online display and search ads combine to drive store sales, comScore says

Online display ads help drive sales in stores, as do paid search ads. And when a consumer sees both display and search ads on the web, the impact on offline sales is greater than the sum of the two individually, web measurement firm comScore Inc. says.

Online display ads help increase sales in stores, as do paid search ads. And when a consumer sees both display and search ads online, the impact on offline sales is greater than the sum of the two individually, according to new data from web measurement firm comScore Inc.

Consumers who viewed online display ads only were 16% more likely than those not exposed to those ads to buy offline at the advertiser’s store, while those exposed to ads on search engine results pages were 82% more likely to make an offline purchase. (Since someone who sees a search ad has searched for a relevant keyword they are more likely to be planning a purchase, comScore explains.) And consumers exposed to both display and search ads were 119% more likely to make a purchase offline, according to a comScore study of the behavior of 1,036 consumers conducted last month.

That means the impact of display and paid search together (119%) exceeds the sum of display and search individually (108%). “In other words, there is a synergistic effect: add two and two and you get five,” says Josh Chasin, chief research officer at comScore.

While search drives more offline sales than display ads do, display ads reach more web users, the comScore data shows. 81% of those exposed to either the display or search ads saw only the display ads, 8% only search ads and 11% both search and display, comScore says.

ComScore calculates the offline impact of online ad viewing by tracking the web use of its panel members and comparing that behavior to actual store purchases by those panel members. The data on store purchases is provided by retailers that can identify store shoppers through loyalty programs or other means, comScore says.

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