Blog Post

OPA Study Tries To Make The Case For Content Sites As Brand Drivers

When asked why major marketers’ ad dollars don’t follow the vast migration of consumers to the web, the general answer is that online isn’t as powerful a branding medium as TV. A study of the internet’s ad effectiveness prepared by the Online Publishers Association aims to challenge that view somewhat. The study’s ambitions aren’t meant to dent traditional; instead it’s taking on the easier challenge of making the case for branded content sites versus portals and remnant ad networks.

The study was based on data from researcher Dynamic Logic’s MarketNorms database, which covered 4 million respondents on 2,000 online ad campaigns over the past three years, through Q1 2008. The two main points OPA hopes to drive home is that major content sites, by dint of the familiarity and distinct identity they have with users, can improve brand favorability and purchase intent more than other sites. While not surprising that popular online outlets can transfer their bona fides to marketers’ messages, it does offer a glimpse of how the web might ultimately close the spending gap with traditional. In defense of the use of portals and remnant ad nets, marketers tend not to use them for branding purposes anyway; they tend to be more valued for direct response. So with that in mind, the full report is here (PDF) with some highlights below:

— Sponsorships on branded content sites were 42 percent more effective than the overall MarketNorms average and 36 percent more effective than on portals.

— 18-34 year olds are more responsive to ads on branded content sites: they are 33 percent more likely to form positive opinions about advertised brands than when viewing ads on portals.

— Consumer packaged goods advertising on branded content sites gets a 26 percent lift in purchase intent over MarketNorms.

3 Responses to “OPA Study Tries To Make The Case For Content Sites As Brand Drivers”

  1. Jim Spanfeller

    You guys are missing part of the point. This study is not about online vs. offline. That is a relatively easy game to win with all the clear data supporting the online side of the equation. This study is more keyed to the value of premium content online (or offline for that matter) vs. algorithemic buying based entirely on cost per whatever. The rise of the networks have pushed branding online back several quarters. This study shows clearly that the premium environments offer substancail value above broad based non premium plans.

    There is way more to this discussion of course…but I will let that all work its way out over the next few weeks / months.

  2. David Kaplan

    I was wondering why the OPA chose such a limited study. I don't think there was anything that surprising in it, though obviously i thought it was worth noting. While a study I referred to yesterday ( from CBS' Dave Poltrack claimed that consumers rely more on TV than the internet for brand awareness. Not to impugn Poltrack's research, but despite CBS' vast online holdings, this is from the perspective the TV side. It would be interesting to see additional independent studies comparing brand awareness between TV and web.

  3. Nathan Richardson

    Seriously, the OPA has been tentative in combating old media smeer campaigns against online and should take the gloves off and refute the claims on branding. The OPA needs to have some seriously aggressive people start to drive the message of online advertising effectiveness home. OPA should diversify it's collection of cross-overs from traditional publishing with pure-blooded online & tech people. OPA remains waaaaay to clubby with old-line media folks who evangelize amongst their peers. I'll let someone else name names.