Brand Building: Internet vs. TV Advertising

There are basically two types of advertising: branding (an attempt to influence what people think and feel about a company) and selling (trying to get people to buy a product). Establishing a strong brand association – Volvo and safety; Apple and innovation; Wal-Mart and affordability – can help a company distinguish itself from competitors and sell more products over time.

Despite the steady rise of the Internet as an advertising medium during the past decade, many advertisers still use online advertising primarily as selling tool, eliciting direct response from consumers, and place their brand advertising in other media, mainly television.

Recent research at Drexel LeBow shows, however, that Internet advertising works just as well as TV commercials in building company brands.

Drexel LeBow’s Michaela Draganska says companies typically measure the success of their online advertising by counting click-through rates and sales numbers. “They are focused on the transactions being generated, but may be missing the positive impact that Internet ads have on their brands.”

She and her colleagues collaborated with Google, the Advertising Research Foundation, Nielsen and a number of large advertisers to compare the branding effectiveness of online and TV advertising. The researchers tracked 20 campaigns, comparing TV commercials to three types of online ads: static banners, animated ones, and video.

The results showed TV and the Internet to be equally effective in their ability to increase brand recall.

Michaela Draganska, PhD, is an associate professor of marketing at Drexel LeBow. The paper “Internet vs. TV advertising: A Brand-Building Comparison,” which she co-authored with Wesley Hartmann, PhD, and Gena Stanglein, PhD, is forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing Research.

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