Online messages provide considerable added value for advertisers when they make it a part of their overall media mix, the first results of a new study commissioned by the Internet Advertising Bureau of Canada show.

Among the results

of the Canadian Media Optimization Study (CMOST) was the finding that the Internet, as medium, had a demonstrable ability to deliver increased ad awareness among key target groups. One measurement found, for example, that advertising awareness was 27 per cent higher when Internet advertising was used to complement TV advertising.

Similarly, CMOST showed Internet advertising had an emphatically positive effect on respondents’ ability to match copy or creative messages to an advertiser’s brand. When TV and online advertising were used together, tagline association was 48 per cent higher than TV used alone. Both findings support earlier research from Dynamic Logic, which ran CMOST and which has conducted online advertising research on more than 800 campaigns.

New York City-based Dynamic Logic surveyed Canadians for CMOST between June and September last year at the behest of the IABC. There were more than 6,000 respondents in the study, including those not exposed to any messaging, those who saw only television and those who were exposed to TV and online media.

The first advertiser to take part in CMOST was Molson Breweries and it is the brewer’s results the IABC released at the beginning of this month.

CMOST used as a test subject a then-new Molson television campaign called “”Seize the Day”” that had numerous creative executions broadcast on different days of the week. To support the TV portion of the multimedia initiative, Molson also ran online advertising. For the first four weeks of the campaign, The Rolling Stones Molson Canadian Rocks Toronto concert and promotion to combat the fallout from the SARS crisis ran simultaneously with Seize the Day. It, too, had an online presence.

Robert Levy, managing director of Brandspark International in Toronto, designed and managed CMOST.

“”The whole question is, is the Internet valuable as an ad medium? Yes, it is. It’s not going to work all the time in all cases, but (CMOST) shows that online advertising can contribute, and that it can work with other media,”” he said.

Levy had no clear expectations about what the study would find, and admitted to being pleasantly surprised by some of CMOST’s findings, including the contribution online marketing can make to an advertiser’s sponsorship initiatives. The study found that if an advertiser adds online advertising to its TV buy, for example, event sponsorship association goes up by 35 per cent. “”It’s proven very positive,”” said Levy.

Adding online advertising to a TV buy also results in a strong increase in consumer relevance – the extent to which a brand’s message resonates with an audience. In the Molson case, when the target group was exposed to online advertising for the Seize the Day campaign their score rose 16 per cent in the “”advertising I could relate to”” category.

Brent Lowe-Bernie, chairman of the IABC, said CMOST was eye-opening. “”We need more studies like this,”” he said. “”We went into CMOST for the long haul. We see it as a long educational curve.””

Some parts of that study marathon are already well under way. Lowe-Bernie said the second CMOST study has focused on RBC Insurance and the third has General Motors of Canada as its test subject. There are two others, one in packaged goods and one in retail, he continued, declining to identify either.

Lowe-Bernie also said in the next two to three years CMOST studies would consider assessing an advertiser’s return on investment to show how hard its money is working using the research toolkit the IABC has developed.

At press time no one at Molson had returned a call for comment.

Commment: pipeline@itbusiness.ca

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