iProspect and comScore Study: Exposure to Impressions of Digital Media Boosts Brand, Drives Purchase Behavior, Even When Users Don't Click on Them

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iProspect study also shows that exposure to impressions of digital media nearly doubles Internet users' likelihood to visit a website in the future.

This study demonstrates that there is a lot more value to digital media than just direct conversions

iProspect, a leading search engine marketing and interactive agency, today published: Real Branding Implications of Digital Media - an SEM, SEO, & Online Display Advertising Study. Sponsored by iProspect and based upon a survey fielded by comScore, the study reveals that mere exposure to impressions of digital media boosts brand and drives purchase behavior, even when users don't click on them. In addition, the study shows that exposure to impressions of digital media nearly doubles Internet users' likelihood to visit a website in the future.

Understanding the full value of digital media is a key industry issue that marketers struggle with today. Fortunately, this new study provides important insights on that very topic. Focused on impressions of organic search results, paid search results, and online display advertising (and all combinations thereof) across 15 brands, the study spans five vertical industries: retail, insurance, banking/financial services, software, and hotels. In addition, it covers four key metrics: brand favorability, likelihood to make a purchase, likelihood to visit a website, and brand trust. Its results are presented in aggregate and at the industry level.

Amongst its key findings, the study reveals that exposure to impressions of digital media boosts brand favorability. Specifically, paid search has the greatest impact on this metric, both in isolation and in combination with other digital media types. Alone, paid search impressions create the greatest lift (28%) overall. However, when combined with organic search impressions, the organic-paid search duo boosts this metric to 40 percent. Likewise, exposure to paid search impressions nets the greatest lift (35%) of individual assets for this metric in the retail vertical. Yet the paid and organic search combination creates a lift of 56 percent for the hotel sector.

The study also reveals that exposure to impressions of digital media drives Internet users' likelihood to purchase. Paid search impressions are particularly adept at influencing this behavior, whether they are used alone or in conjunction with other digital media. At the aggregate level, paid search generates a lift of 44 percent on its own; but within the retail vertical, it produces a 54 percent lift. However, combinations of two digital media types also play a role. Together, organic and paid search impressions yield the greatest lift (73%) in aggregate and in the hotel vertical (147%). But organic and display impressions create the most effective combination (64%) for this metric in the banking/financial services sector.

"This study demonstrates that there is a lot more value to digital media than just direct conversions," said Robert Murray, CEO, iProspect. "Clearly, brand awareness and favorability are driving revenue across the online marketing channels. Given that, these findings have serious implications for companies that currently measure their search and online display campaigns solely on their ability to produce ROI-based conversions. That perspective is short-sighted. Instead, marketers should start tapping into search and display for branding efforts to improve their performance."

Designed to uncover the true value of digital media and the effect of branding on customers' purchase paths, the study also shows how digital media influences the likelihood to visit a website. Overall, the combination of organic and paid search impressions produces the most impressive lift (95%) - nearly doubling Internet users' likelihood to visit a website in the future. This same combination also produces the greatest lift for software (58%) and hotels (163%). However, organic search impressions alone boost this metric for both the banking/financial services vertical (113%) as well as the insurance industry (171%). Conversely, paid search impressions generate a 75 percent increase for the retail sector.

"To best capitalize on these findings," said Misty Locke, President of Range Online Media, and Chief Strategy Officer, iProspect, "marketers need to develop systems and processes that will allow them to gauge the impact of digital media on their brand. Then they need to continuously test to see which types of digital media and combinations produce the best results so they can invest digital and branding dollars in the most effective mix."

Murray advised, "Digital marketers should show these findings to their CMO and brand manager colleagues, and start leveraging search and display to boost their brand to drive performance. Marketers who adopt this strategy could gain an advantage, and leave their competitors behind to wonder what happened."

Other findings include:

  • Paid search is the digital media type that has the greatest impact on brand favorability, both in isolation (28%) and in combination with organic search (40%).
  • Online display advertising contributes more than five times the brand lift in likelihood to visit a website for the retail sector than it does overall.
  • In the software vertical, organic search impressions boost likelihood to visit a website (37%) and likelihood to purchase a software product (30%).
  • The combination of organic and paid search impressions enhances brand trust by 50 percent in aggregate.
  • In the banking/financial services vertical, the combination of organic search and online display impressions produces a 44 percent lift in brand trust.
  • In the insurance vertical, organic search impressions produce a 150 percent lift in the likelihood to purchase.
  • In the hotel vertical, the combination of organic search results and display impressions creates a 144 percent lift in likelihood to purchase.

About iProspect

iProspect is the Original Search Engine Marketing Firm. The company helps many of the world's most successful brands maximize their online marketing ROI through natural search engine optimization, paid search advertising management, online display advertising management, shopping feed management, global search engine marketing, Web analytics/attribution modeling, reputation management, and other related services. By dramatically increasing business results for clients, iProspect helps to create search marketing heroes every day.

With U.S. offices in Boston, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Dallas-Ft. Worth, as well as global search engine marketing offices, iProspect can be contacted at 1-800-522-1152 or by visiting http://www.iprospect.com.

Questions regarding this release should be directed to iProspect Director of Communications, Colleen Reed, at 617.449.4172 or colleen.reed(at)iprospect(dot)com.

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