Maybe one thing won’t be so tough this holiday season for retailers. A new report shows that simple web ads and loyal customers will be the main traffic drivers for both online and offline channels for the balance of this year.
That means that video ads and rich media applications, which are expensive and buzzworthy these days, may not need to drain retailer’s holiday ad budgets. The new report from from web analytics company iPerceptions collected user-generated feedback from over 14,000 visitors to leading media sites during the month of August 2008. The data showed retailers can reach consumers through text and banner ads most efficiently.
In fact, consumers visiting media sites are most likely to click on simple text ads (25% of respondents). Display ads follow in popularity, with 20% of respondents likely to click on right banners and 12% likely to click on top banners. Video ads are not very popular among most consumers; only 11% of consumers said they were likely to click on them. And tech-savvy 25- to 34 year-olds show no special affinity for video, being just as likely to click on video ads as text, right and top banners. The only consumers who seem to be engaged by video ads are under the age of 25, a group that accounts for nearly one-third of the video-ad viewing audience.
Jonathan Levitt, marketing VP for iPerceptions, believes some of the survey data goes deeper than affirming text and banners. “The voice of the customer can be expressed through web traffic,” says Levitt. “We suggest that rather than starting with the conversion rate or last click attribution that retailers find out why their customer arrived in the first place. They usually arrive with an intention. They have a task to complete and retailers need to know what that is.”
Brand value is still determined by experience at the retail website, not by the experience consumers have in getting there. The iPerceptions report showed that once arriving at a site, the key to brand value and sales is task completion. 67% of visitors who completed their primary purpose reported enhanced brand opinion (vs. only 18% for those who did not). 60% reported higher likelihood to purchase either online or offline (vs. 14%). Visitors who completed their primary purpose were two times as likely to refer a friend and two times as likely to make a repeat visit.
Just as loyalty can be doubled by understanding and completing the customer task and intention, the study also found that advertising clicks come from loyal audiences. In other words, users that are loyal to a media site, have a higher propensity to become loyal customers. 65% of consumers who are likely to click on ads are weekly or daily media site visitors. Only 15% of those likely to click on ads are first time visitors and only six percent of respondents were “sporadic” users.
Levitt believes the report shows that last click attribution, which has become something of a holy grail among internet marketers, may not be as important as once thought. In spring 2008 iPerceptions looked at first-time purchaser data for a top consumer electronics retailer. “We found major problems with the standard practice of last-click attribution,.” Says Levitt. While most purchasers were arriving organically (typing in the URL, bookmarking) or through search, the factors that most greatly influenced their decision to purchase suggested that offline vehicles deserved much more credit. Specifically, 30% indicated that their decision to buy online arose from word of mouth/credible referrals, 11% indicated that they bought as a result of a direct mail campaign, and 9% indicated that they were motivated by a print ad.
In a multi-channel retail study from April 08 through July 08 involving more than 10,000 respondents, iPerceptions found that, among visitors who did not execute a purchase online, 60% indicated that their website session had compelled them to visiting a brick-and-mortar store as the next step. “This represents a veritable army of potential buyers who were driven directly from the online storefront to the tactile storefront,” says Levitt.