Consumers were more likely to express an intention to buy consumer electronics, apparel, automobiles, beer and toiletries when exposed to a combination of media rather than one medium alone, according to market-research firm Advertiser Perceptions. The company conducted an online survey of more than 25,000 respondents in April that measured 300 TV networks and programs, 120 websites, and 120 magazines and national newspapers.
Intent to purchase has become a key metric for media buyers, who are under increasing pressure to justify media spending based on return on investment.
"It is becoming very important because we constantly have to be able to say if investing in [certain] types of media will drive towards a response," said Jim Kite, president-connections research and analytics at Publicis Groupe's MediaVest.
Across those product categories, TV, online and magazines produced relatively low purchase intent when used alone. For instance, compared with the average of all measured media audiences, TV viewers were 3% less likely to intend to buy consumer electronics and autos and 2% less likely to intend to buy apparel.
But when combined with other media, TV produced a much different result. Using an example of a media brand with online, TV and magazine properties, Advertiser Perceptions found that TV and online together produced big lifts in buying intentions across those same five product categories. For instance, online and TV viewers were 27% more likely to intend to buy beer than those who viewed TV alone, 22% more likely to intend to buy apparel than TV viewers alone and 21% more likely to intend to buy consumer electronics than TV viewers alone.
The combo of online and magazines also produced lifts in purchase intent across most categories. For instance, online and magazine readers were 24% more likely to intend to purchase autos than online users alone and 20% more likely to intend to buy beer than online users alone.
In many product categories, when brand names were factored in, the lift produced by a combination of media became even stronger. Intent to buy Abercrombie & Fitch clothes shot up 65% with the mix of online and magazines vs. online alone. Intent to buy Heineken beer rose 39% among online and magazine users vs. magazine readers alone.
Mr. Kite found similar lifts in intent to purchase in mixed-media campaigns using Starcom MediaVest Group's IntenTrack, a tool that identifies consumer intentions that are most closely correlated with sales.
Different media, different behaviors
All media plays a role in driving consumer purchase intent, Mr. Kite said, but not necessarily in the same way for every category and every brand. For instance, magazines and radio can drive consumers to act, while digital can be used to encourage consumers to do research.
Driving purchase intent with multiple media "points to the whole is greater than the sum of its parts," said Susan Malfa, senior VP-ad sales for Oxygen and Bravo, where intent to purchase has become a focus of the cable channel's pitch to buyers. "The [consumer] gets to take a ride with the advertiser's brand essence."
Though follow-up for Advertiser Perceptions study of buying intentions is not available, the firm's last buying-intention study, conducted in 2005, showed that purchase follow-through on buying intentions was about 84% on the product-category level and 61% on the brand level. In July, Advertiser Perceptions will make available data that shows whether consumers' intention to buy turned into an actual sale.