people don't learn much from banner ads

A new Harris Interactive poll shows that 37% of Americans say that television ads are most helpful in making their purchase decision while 17% say newspaper ads are most helpful and 14% say the same about Internet search engine ads.

Interesting...but let's be careful not to mis-interpret here...this is a comparison of ads. Not online research, engagement, social interaction, branded tools or other experiences that users partake on the magical internets. Shouldn't be a huge surprise - when was the last time you learned anything from a paid search ad??

(The photo of coworker @spadachris getting dizzy on a spinning teacup has nothing to do with this post. Just an interesting graphic to keep you entertained while you read a bunch of boring numbers and statistics and attempt to make sense of it all.)


Ben Kunz said...

Excellent insight. Of course TV ads are better at informing than other media types because they are *longer* and you can tell a story in 30 or 60 seconds vs. a few images. Nonverbal imagery is still a powerful form of communication. Direct mail or banner ads or Google paid search don't inform well, but the math behind them can work in pushing leads through the funnel.

The deeper issue I see is most marketers still view advertising components in isolation, without realizing they all have to work together. TV ads drive people to the web; creative draws people in; social media extends the engagement; direct response can help close the sale. Partitioning off elements and critiquing them in isolation is bit like getting mad at your carrots for not helping you lose weight, while you're eating donuts elsewhere.

A second issue is time, not mentioned in this study. U.S. consumers watch more than 5 1/2 hours of TV a day -- so of *course* if you survey them they'll say they learn more from TV ads. If I spend all day at the library, I'll tell you I learn a lot there, too. This poll is biased based on the disproportionate amount of time consumers spend with certain media.

Balanced evaluations of ad campaigns are difficult, of course. The first step is to realize each element plays a different role, and none of them are working in isolation.

ivv said...

Too many variables for the study to be meaningful. Not to mention that these data are self-reported: "% of Americans say that...". Have them spend equal time with each medium and then test how much they have retained.

It would also be fun to compare TV ads and microsites.

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