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Millward Brown to Conduct IAB Ad Frequency Study

Web research firm Millward Brown invited leading Web publishers, advertisers, and agencies to participate in the Online Media Planning Research it has been commissioned to conduct on behalf of the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB).

The objective of this new research study is to learn how different levels of online advertising frequency affect brand communication online, and to achieve a true picture of how frequency works.

The study will seek to answer questions such as "Is there an optimum number of exposures before the ad ceases to be effective?," "How long can advertisers afford to be offline?," and "Do people who have seen an ad more times forget more slowly?"

In 1997, the San Francisco-based company conducted the landmark Online Advertising Effectiveness Study, calling it the single largest ad effectiveness study ever conducted in any medium, on behalf of the IAB.

"Millward Brown did an excellent job on last year's Online Advertising Effectiveness Study in proving that online advertising works. We chose to work with them again this year because of their leadership, credibility and significant understanding of marketing, both traditional and online," said Rich LeFurgy, chairman at the IAB and senior vice president, advertising, at Buena Vista Internet Group.

"This year's Online Media Planning Research will focus on how online advertising works, seeking to move beyond the 'sites per flowchart' approach that simply adds bulk to the media buy, rather than effectiveness," said LeFurgy. "Once we're able to better inform our members as to how online media works, they then can make even bigger strides into the traditional advertising media process."

Millward Brown said it will conduct a carefully controlled, rigorous experiment in the real-world Web environment (i.e., consumers will be exposed to actual ads on real Web sites). A random sample intercept and evaluation will query users on basic effectiveness measures such as ad recall, brand awareness, reported response to an ad, attitudes toward the brand, and purchase likelihood, as well as in-depth effectiveness measures like the advertising's impact on sales and its brand-building impact.

In this collaborative effort the IAB and Millward Brown Interactive plan to include approximately 50 Web sites. Advertisers and ad agencies are invited to participate as well. Benefits that participating Web sites can expect to receive include an assessment of advertising effectiveness on their site and demographic information on their users. Advertisers will benefit from shared learning of how online advertising works.

Interested Web publishers, advertisers, and agencies are asked to send e-mail to adstudy98@mbinteractive.com by July 31, 1998. Roundtable working sessions led by Millward Brown Interactive will select the handful of brands to measure in this study and will work with industry participants to prioritize issues for analysis and interpret the results, which are scheduled to be released this fall.