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Research Shows Link Between Online Brand Metrics and Offline Sales

1 minute read | October 2011

Advertisers looking to build their brands online will need to look beyond traditional web metrics to determine if their investments are paying off, according to a recent study by Nielsen. In a new report, Beyond Clicks and Impressions: Examining the Relationship Between Online Advertising and Brand Building, there is emerging evidence that brand metrics – which show attitudinal response to online campaigns – can predict offline sales. The research further shows that there’s virtually no relationship between click-through rates and brand opinion or offline sales.



In the study, Nielsen examined how exposure to Internet ad campaigns influenced brand measures such as ad recall and likeability, and whether the consumer said they were more likely to purchase the product after viewing the ad. The analysis showed that online ads do, on average, succeed in influencing brand engagement and opinion, particularly for ad recall and message association. However, the degree of positive brand impact largely depends on the strength of the ad itself.



The study then connected brand engagement results with actual offline sales measured by Nielsen. While based on a small number of cases to-date, the research showed that campaigns in which consumers reported an increase in purchase intent after viewing an online ad also showed a boost in offline product sales. Cases with flat purchase intent showed no significant change in sales.

Additionally, the research showed that the click-through rate for a given ad campaign showed no connection to sales lift and no measure of whether the message resonated with consumers.

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