Wednesday, September 24, 1997

Over 16,000 Web Users Queried Across 12 Leading Sites

New York, NY - September 24 - The Internet Advertising Bureau today announced results from the largest and most comprehensive test of online advertising effectiveness to date. The study challenges the common belief among many advertisers that Internet ad banners cannot communicate brand messages as effectively as print and broadcast media.

Fielded across 12 leading Web sites with 16,758 respondents, the broad- based study was conducted in June by advertising research firm MBinteractive, a division of Millward Brown International. Participating sites included CNN, CompuServe, ESPN SportsZone, Excite, Geocities, HotWired, Looksmart, Lycos, MacWorld, National Geographic Online, Pathfinder, and Ziff Davis.

The study, which tested the impact of banners from 12 different advertisers, demonstrated high levels of ad banner awareness among participants. Based on a classic experimental design where half of the respondents were exposed to a test ad and the other half were exposed to a control ad, the study found:

  • dramatic increase of awareness after a single ad exposure;
  • significant impact on brand perception resulting from one exposure; and
  • positive impact on intent to purchase.

This study conclusively demonstrates that online advertising has the same communication power as traditional media. We found that a single Web ad banner exposure enhances positive perception of advertised brands and improves the likelihood of consumer purchase,ä said Rich LeFurgy, IAB Chairman and Senior Vice President of Advertising at ESPN/ABC News Internet Ventures. ãAdvertisers who are overlooking the enormous brand building power available on the Internet are missing a bet.

The IAB study also found that the click-through metric, which is the percentage of users who click on ad banners to connect to an advertiserâs site, is not always appropriate to evaluate the success of online ad campaigns. Ad banner exposure was found to be responsible for 96% of ad awareness, compared to click-through which contributed only 4%.

Exposure to ad banners accounted for the lionâs share of communication impact,ä said Rex Briggs, Vice President at MBinteractive. This important finding indicates that ad banners are not just direct marketing vehicles to drive users to brand web sites. They are powerful advertising communication vehicles as well.

The study also tested how Web users feel about online advertising in general. Of those surveyed, 63% strongly agreed that brands advertising on the Web are more forward-thinking than other brands and 55% of the participants were in favor of Web advertising.

The IAB study tested a wide array of brands from consumer packaged goods to financial services. Users were randomly reached as they linked to any of the twelve Web sites. After completing a general query, users were advanced to their requested page where specific ad banners were delivered for purposes of the study. Participants were then contacted within a week via e-mail to test their ability to recall the exposed ad banners and the impact of the brands.

The IAB Online Advertising Effectiveness Study can be viewed at

Founded in 1996, the IAB is the leading online advertising association. Its activities include evaluating and recommending standards and practices, sponsoring research to document the effectiveness of the online medium and educating the advertising industry about the use of online advertising. Current membership includes companies that are actively engaged in the sales of advertising, with associate membership including companies that support advertising, including measurement companies, research suppliers, technology suppliers, traffic companies and other organizations from related industries.


Marla Nitke IAB
[email protected]