Websites Greatest Influencers on Shopping; Online Videos More Popular Than MP3 Players

Watching online video is the most popular consumer behavior (43%) of emerging media, even more than use of MP3 player. Some 8% of consumers see online ads as a source of further learning, but only 4% see the ads as a source of product discovery. 

Some 61% of online users navigate to a web site some time after viewing an ad, while only 30% click on the ad to get more information at the time of viewing. Additionally, 67% report going to a store location to learn more about a particular product. These are some of the key findings from DoubleClick Touchpoints IV consumer survey, the fourth annual report about what influences people’s purchase decisions, online and offline, across 15 product and service categories.

Across all vertical industries, 18% of respondents in the survey said they were most influenced in their decision to buy a new product or service by the research they did on a website.  That is greater than the number of people who cited seeing the product or service offering in a brick-and-mortar store or word of mouth, the next two most influential factors. 

As for advertising media, only 3% of the respondents cited web advertisements as having most influenced their decision. But, that was roughly on par with the influence respondents attributed to TV, direct mail and print ads, and significantly higher than radio or outdoor ads or telemarketing.

In the air travel, hotels, and rental cars categories popular on the net, between 18-20% of respondents indicated that they turned to web ads for further information.

A full 43% of the Touchpoints survey respondents reported watching video online. In fact, this is the most popular online activity of a list of types of emerging media included in the survey, equal to the number of people who send text messages using their cell phone. Online video is more popular than use of portable MP3 players (38%).

Online video also has people’s attention as an ad platform. In a separate question, 43% of respondents said they watch movie trailers in online ads “all the time,” “frequently,” or “sometimes,” and 25% click “play” on video ads that often as well. 

With regard to online ads, 61% of people said they had at least sometimes “notice a web ad, do not click but visit the advertised site later” (view-through),  compared to 30% who said they click on banner ads at least sometimes (click-through).  Even a larger 67% said that they sometimes visit a physical store after seeing web ads.

The report suggests that advertisers should optimize their online advertising campaigns around the viewthrough metric. Consumers’ perceptions of the impact of online advertising validate what many see in the results of their online campaigns: More consumers react to ads by visiting the advertised websites directly rather than clicking on an ad.

Methodology Touchpoints IV was fielded in July 2006. ROI Research helped DoubleClick manage the research project. Survey respondents were solicited from eReward’s opt-in panel of research participants, which is normalized to reflect the Internet-using population in the U.S. A total of 6,121 adult (18 years old and older) Internet users completed the survey. The survey asked respondents about their purchases in the previous 12 months within the following 15 categories: automotive, banking, credit cards, investments, mortgages and loans, air travel, hotels, rental cars, telecommunications service plans, consumer packaged goods (personal care and household care products), apparel, consumer electronics, housewares and furniture, movie tickets, and prescription drugs. 

Specifically, the survey asked participants about the three unique phases of the purchase process: initial awareness (“How did you first learn about…”), information gathering (“How did you further learn about…”) and purchase decision (“Which of the following most influenced…”).

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