Various traditional media advertising types are at least as effective -if not more so – than online banner ads in driving search and social activity among US consumers, according to a recent study from Nielsen and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA). TV and out-of-home (OOH) appear to be the top-performing traditional ad types, with OOH proving the most cost-effective, per the report.
The study measured consumers’ response to various offline media (and online banner ads) by way of an online national survey to determine the level of search and social activity spurred by these media.
Most Have Searched For Info Online After Seeing A TV Ad
The results demonstrate that a majority (57%) of US adults have used Google, Bing, Yahoo or another search engine to look up information after seeing an ad on TV in the past 6 months.
Not far behind, almost half (46%) of the survey’s participants profess to having conducted an online search as a result of seeing or hearing something advertised on a billboard, bus shelter or other outdoor advertising, or in a movie theater.
The other advertising media were closely grouped together, though slightly behind: print (36%), banner ads (36%) and radio (35%) each spurred slightly more than one-third to search for more information in response to an ad.
OOH Ads Spur 4 in 10 to Visit Facebook
Although TV ads had the most impact on online search behavior, OOH ads (38%) rivaled TV ads (40%) in their ability to prompt respondents to either visit a page or post a message on Facebook.
TV and out-of-home were again the most successful advertising types (among those identified) in spurring Facebook activity.
In this particular case, banner ads (32%) seemed to drive more Facebook activity than print (27%) or radio (25%) ads.
Twitter & Instagram Activations Similar
Interestingly enough, respondents were slightly more likely to claim to have posted something on Twitter and Instagram in response to an out-of-home ad (23% and 25%, respectively) than to a TV ad (22% each).
These results suggest that while TV ads are the most likely to drive search activity, OOH ads are just as likely – if not more so – to prompt social media activity.
Meanwhile, adults seemed again slightly more apt to post on Twitter and Instagram in response to banner ads than to print or radio ads.
Levels of Twitter and Instagram activity were relatively on par in response to each of the ad types identified.
OOH, Banner Ads Most Cost-Effective?
To arrive at a measure of cost-effectiveness, the study first determined the overall amount of ad spending on the various advertising media ($7.6 billion in 2016).
It then broke that spend down by medium, with TV (58%) easily occupying the highest share of that combined figure and out-of-home (7%) and banner ads (6%) the smallest.
Separately, the researchers totaled gross survey-based search and social activations as a result of these media, and then again broke those down by medium.
They concluded that both out-of-home ads and banner ads drove a far greater amount of search and social activity than their share of ad spending would predict, with out-of-home gaining the slight edge.
Despite spurring the largest proportion of respondents to take action online in response to an ad, TV was deemed the least cost-effective as a result of its dominant share of ad spending.
The results shouldn’t be viewed as definitive, at least as relates to cost-effectiveness, as the analysis only looks at gross activations and doesn’t into account particulars such as the volume of searches conducted, the nature of the messages posted, and/or any resulting purchases. But at the least they could spur some discussion about the effectiveness of out-of-home ads and how to leverage their ability to prompt online activity.
About the Data: The study’s results are based on a Nielsen survey of 1,089 adults ages 18 and older.