A brand new study of the Internet Advertising Bureau reveals some interesting information about the effectiveness of online advertising for retailers. The study dug deeper into 4 of the major retailers in the UK, namely Debenhams, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Woolworths and Next and their respective online branding efforts.
The study shows a stunning 40% of brand engagement generated by online presence of the retailer. This brand engagement is composed of 4 main factors: affinity, quality, fitting to needs and presence (in major shopping streets). Advertising online influences significantly these 4 factors and together accounts for 40% of the brand engagement. The other most important channels driving brand engagement are Press (31%) and TV (19%).
Despite the huge influence of online advertising, the retail sector is typically a sector with minimal investment in this type of advertising. A poor 2.5% of the whole budget accounted for internet advertising in 2007 and leaves a huge gap of opportunities for the sector to explore.
Not only the retailers can learn from this study though. If more than 1000 British woman aged 30 to 50 give online advertising such importance to make up their whole shopping experience, it is hard to believe it is limited to the retail sector. Previously other studies also showed positive brand engagement for small cars, hair care and fizzy drinks and this one is now one more proof.
Internet has become not only an advertising channel but a tool to hook customers. A well designed site reflecting the same experience, benefits and style as seen offline, supports the customers emotional attachment to the brand and will drive the customer’s loyalty. Therefore it is crucial to send out a consistent message both offline and online over time. whereas many would cut back on online advertising in bad times, it will be these investments in keeping your customers with you that might save your business in the long run.