March 26, 2010, 12:00 AM

Online display and video ads pull consumers to sites, study says

A study of four U.K. ad campaigns by ad network .Fox Networks and web measurement firm comScore shows both display and video ads can greatly increase retailers` site visits and brand name searches.


Internet retailers have been giving more attention to online display ads and have begun showing some interest in video ads. Both can be used for more than just branding-they can be an integral part in the chain of events that gets a consumer to an e-retailer’s site to make a purchase.

.Fox Networks, an international ad network, and comScore Inc., an Internet measurement firm, studied four U.K. ad campaigns that used both online display ads and video ads to gauge the effectiveness of these forms of advertising and to study how to attribute sales to these ads.

Video and display advertising both successfully increased brand engagement in each of the four campaigns analyzed, the companies found. Site visitation increased by more than a factor of seven over a four-week period following exposure to an ad, with consumers three times more likely to conduct search queries using brand or relevant generic terms in the same time period.

When evaluating video and display ads side by side, consumers exposed to video advertising were 28% more likely to visit the brand site and nearly twice as likely to conduct a brand search, the companies say. And video was able to generate a more immediate impact in the first five exposures than display ads in terms of increases in site visitation and search queries; however, behavioral responses for those exposed to display ads climbed steadily as the number of ad impressions increased, .Fox and comScore found.

The study, the companies add, underscores the fact that consumer search behavior is positively impacted by the presence of display or video advertising-even if consumers don’t click on those ads often. In each of the four campaigns, search activity increased significantly when consumers were exposed to these online ad formats, suggesting that the last click on a search ad should not be given 100% of the credit for a sale, they say.

The study was compiled examining four campaigns conducted in 2009 across the travel, finance, government and utilities sectors. These campaigns used various combinations of video and display formats and delivered a total of 300 million impressions to U.K. Internet users. ComScore used its panel of more than 80,000 U.K. consumers to track behavior and understand the impact over time of ad exposure on specific activities linked to campaign effectiveness, namely advertiser site visitation and search term usage.

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