Why Advertise Online?

11 maart 2003, 21:58

Highlighting the size of the market online in the US, the behavior of affluent Internet users and the power of online branding, David Hallerman offers some answers to the very broad question of why a company should advertise online.

Why advertise online? Before eMarketer offers up some answers to that question, it would like to note that the lion’s share of advertising research that has been aggregated at eMarketer over the past year makes a case in favor of including the Internet in at least part of most marketing campaigns.

For example, some recent research from WashingtonPost.com and Nielsen//NetRatings examines the amount of time affluent US adults spend with various media, both on an average weekday (the first chart below) and an average weekend day (the following chart). The researchers define “affluent” as household incomes in the six-figure range.

Look first at weekdays. Among the affluent, 40% spend two or more hours using the Internet (and that figure excludes e-mail, which would probably raise the percentage). In contrast, in the two-plus-hour category, 33% watch TV, 15% listen to radio, 5% read newspapers, and only 2% read magazines.


Turning to weekend days, and continuing in the combined two-plus-hour range, more affluent adults watch TV, at 52% of respondents, than consume the other four media shown. These are, of course, typically leisure days. Even so, at 22% for two-or-more hours, Internet weekend use tops radio (at 12%), newspapers (at 10%), and magazines (at 4%) among this valuable target audience.


Besides these strong indications that if advertisers are looking for consumers with money, they’ll likely find them online, online advertising and other Web-based information continue to show a strong effect on branding. According to a study conducted by The Dieringer Research Group?a Milwaukee-based marketing research services firm?40% of US Internet users changed their opinions of brands due to information they gathered online. (This ongoing research is based on the American Interactive Consumer Survey.)

As reported by Internet Retailer magazine, “Brand categories most susceptible to changing opinions were cars and airlines, while retail consumer packaged goods and pharmaceutical products were less impacted.”


Based on eMarketer’s estimate of 152.8 million US Internet users in 2002, that 40% figure translates to over 61 million people swayed by online marketing. In addition, supporting the affluent online data above, Dieringer says that households with incomes of $75,000 or more are even more likely to switch brands after seeking online information.

However, not every bit of data might sway an advertiser to include the Internet as part of their full marketing campaign. For instance, when MORI Research asked US consumers recently for their main source of advertising information, 41% cited traditional newspapers, 36% mentioned television, 13% said yellow pages, but only 6% claimed the Internet.

These points about affluence, the online audience and branding are only partial answers to the question of why a company should advertise online. When looking at your own rationales for advertising online, consider the further trend lines, your target audience, and how best to allocate your marketing budget.



Marco Derksen
Partner bij Upstream

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