January 24, 2000

Super Bowl Advertising by Dot-Coms May Not Score Points with Consumers, Accenture Research Indicates

Television Spots Less Effective than Banner and Print Ads for Driving Online Shopping Among Experienced Internet Users, Holiday Studies Show

NEW YORK, January 24, 2000 - With Super Bowl XXXIV advertising rates climbing to the $3-million dollar mark for Internet companies desperate to build their brands, consumer research from Accenture may lead advertisers to question the value of these investments in driving actual online shopping. Among experienced Internet users, television advertising is less effective then banner and print advertising, according to two recent studies conducted by the firm during the 1999 holiday shopping season.

One in four experienced Internet users said that banner advertisements drove them to try online shopping, beating out newspapers or magazine ads (14%), television commercials (11%), radio spots (4%) and billboards (4%), according to nationwide survey of nearly 1500 experienced Internet user conducted by the firm in November 1999.

After the holidays, when Accenture asked consumers about the advertising vehicles which influenced their online purchases, magazine and newspaper ads proved to be more persuasive. Among traditional ad vehicles, magazine and newspaper ads were found to have driven 28 percent of Internet purchases, making print ads more powerful than television, which influenced only 21 percent of respondents’ shopping. Banner ads also remained more influential than TV ads in the decision to purchase gifts online. When Internet users were asked what influenced them to purchase their holiday gifts online, 23 percent cited banner ads.

More than a dozen Internet companies are reported to be making a Super Bowl ad debut during professional football’s championship game on January 30.

"Consumers gave a clear indication of what is motivating their online shopping behavior. The fact is, television is taking a back seat in effectiveness when compared to the influence of banner and print advertising," said Steven Johnson, partner, Accenture, and co-director of the firm’s eCommerce program. "Image is one thing, but our research shows it’s clearly not the only thing. As dot-coms consider the right balance of investments to succeed, they should weigh advertising in the most expensive showcase against making investments in essential infrastructure."

The surveys helped define how important banners are to e-tailers: nearly two of three (63%) holiday Internet purchasers surveyed reported that they had clicked through banners in the past. The types of banners most influential in this season’s holiday shopping were ads offering free shipping or delivery (34%) and banners about a specific brand or product such as the title of a book or software package (30%).

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Methodology

Taking respondents from Accenture’s October 1999 pre-holiday shopping study of 1,472 online shoppers, a total of 541 of these Internet users responded to a follow up poll over an eight-day period beginning Monday, December 27, 1999 through Monday, January 3, 2000. The survey was administered on the Internet. Finally, the data was weighted to the Internet population and a small number of respondents who did not purchase holiday gifts were eliminated from the sample. As a result, the total weighted sample, comprising 502 respondents, will be used throughout the remainder of this analysis.

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