Offline TV ads drive online sales

New York: Researchers have found that those who use a second screen such as a smartphone, laptop or tablets while watching TV are likely to buy a product online soon after seeing a commercial on TV.

Many television advertisers voice fears that distracted viewers — those increasingly frenetic multi-taskers using smartphones, laptops and tablets while viewing TV – are becoming less receptive to advertisers’ messages.

The new study refutes this conventional wisdom and concludes that the second screen puts a virtual store in every consumer’s pocket.

“The second screen — the one on your phone or computer — is feared by television advertisers,” said one of the researchers, Jura Liaukonyte, from Cornell University in the US.

“However, this point of view misses the upside of a second screen — the TV viewer now has a virtual store in front of her. Multi-tasking viewers now rapidly respond online to price promotions and other information communicated through TV ads,” Liaukonyte said.

Multi-tasking viewers now visit, browse and even buy advertised products within moments of seeing a commercial, the study added.

The researchers matched a large panel dataset of Internet browsing and shopping, with data about $3.4 billion of TV advertising spent by 20 large brands, including Amazon, AT&T, Target and Domino’s.

“We wondered if ads that use direct-response tactics – like flashing URLs repeatedly or offering a short-term price promotion — would increase brand website traffic or sales by multi-taskers,” Liaukonyte said.

“It turns out, they did both,” Liaukonyte said.

The study was published online in the journal of Marketing Science.

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