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BBN study: Business ads do better on b-to-b sites

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General business advertising performs better on specialized b-to-b websites than consumer sites with business content. Evidence for that statement stems from a recent study conducted by Ipsos OTX MediaCT for BBN Networks, an online advertising network comprising more than 800 b-to-b websites operated by 70-plus media companies.

BBN reached out to Ipsos last fall to conduct independent research that would examine the value of advertising on the b-to-b network. Scott Roulet, senior VP of BBN Networks, said, “Our objective was to show that there was a premium value to advertising to a business audience when they are within the confines of sites that are very narrowly targeted to their businesses.”

A secondary goal was to see whether b-to-b website users reacted to advertising differently during the 8 a.m.-to-6 p.m. workday (WD) than outside the workday (OWD).

Ipsos designed a study, performed in a testing lab in October and November 2010, that involved 1,000 qualified participants. Test subjects were at least 25 years old, employed full time or self-employed, and making more than $75,000 per year.

The subjects were divided into four equal groups. One group saw the test ad on a consumer website. Two were shown the same ad on b-to-b sites either during work hours or nonwork hours. A control group viewed a different ad on both b-to-b and consumer sites. The performance of the ad was compared via a series of questions asked after the ad was viewed.

The test brand was global shipping company DHL. The test websites were CNN.com, CNBC.com and Yahoo Finance on the consumer side, and ALM's Law.com, CFO Publishing's CFO.com and McGraw-Hill Cos.' Construction.com in b-to-b.

The study's key findings:

Advertising effectiveness appears higher on b-to-b sites. More than half the subjects who viewed the DHL test ad on a b-to-b site—55% during WD and 57% OWD—identified the brand as the “best option for international shipping” compared to 37% of those viewing a consumer site.

B-to-b site visitors appeared more likely to take action. Fifty-nine percent of b-to-b site viewers during WD and 52% OWD indicated they were likely to seek more information about the test brand within the next three months, as compared with only 35% of subjects viewing the consumer site.

Brand opinion seems improved when an ad is seen on a b-to-b site. Seventy-one percent of people viewing the ad on b-to-b sites during WD and 70% during OWD indicated that the advertisement gave them a more favorable opinion of the test brand. Only 44% of viewers on a consumer site had a better opinion of the brand after seeing the ad.

B-to-b site users appeared to view business advertising as more relevant. While 54% of subjects who viewed the test ad on a consumer site indicated that they thought the ad was relevant, 77% of those who saw it in on a business site during WD and 72% who saw it OWD saw the ad as relevant.

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