Internet Versus Television Advertising: A Brand-Building Comparison
Many advertisers are reluctant to shift a large proportion of their advertising budgets to the Internet because they still view television advertising as the main vehicle for building a brand. Using a unique and rich data set comprising 20 campaigns across a variety of industries, this study demonstrates that Internet ads perform on par with television ads on the brand-building metrics that advertisers use and trust. The authors extend traditional brand-message recall measurements to facilitate comparisons between Internet formats and television by supplementing brand-message surveys conducted during the campaign with a set of precampaign surveys to control for preexisting brand knowledge. They find that accounting for differences in preexisting brand knowledge is paramount in obtaining valid comparisons across advertising formats because people who are exposed to Internet display ads have significantly lower levels of preexisting brand knowledge than television viewers. Without considering the differences in these "initial conditions," television advertising seems to be more effective than advertising on the Internet, but when the preexisting differences among media formats are taken into account, the brand recall lift measures for Internet ads are statistically indistinguishable from comparable television lift measures.