Retail research shows online advertising boosts FMCG sales

Posted by IAB Australia On October 21, 2011 Media Releases

Listerine Zero campaign results in 11 percent uplift in sales across the market

21st October 2011 – Online advertising has a clear impact on in-store FMCG sales according to the latest research released today by IAB Australia’s Research Council.   As well as showing an increase in brand measures of purchase intention and consideration, the study found that online advertising lifted sales by 11 percent across the market for Listerine Zero, a new mouthwash product from Johnson and Johnson.

Conducted by Nielsen over six months in 2011, the study investigated consumer behavior online and its impact on offline purchasing activity.  As part of the study, Nielsen also evaluated Listerine Zero’s digital only test campaign, which measured reach, brand impact and impact on actual sales.  Both the research findings and case study were presented at events held in Sydney and Melbourne this week.

The research found that, next to in-store viewing, online was the highest used source for retail research, being used continuously through the purchase decision making process, providing advertisers with many opportunities to reach and influence consumers online at every stage of the decision making process, from initial research, to evaluating alternatives, right through to purchase and post purchase evaluation.  It also found that mobile devices are being used to access the internet during the decision-making process as well as on the shop floor at potential point of purchase

The Listerine campaign reached 44 percent of online consumers aged 25-54 years and 36 percent of the total online population in NSW.   Overall it found that exposure to the online advertising campaign significantly increased a number of brand equity measures with significant increases seen for awareness, consideration and sentiment for the Listerine Brand overall, as well as even more significant increases for awareness, recommendation and purchase intent for Listerine Zero. 

Most importantly, the online advertising campaign was found to have had a significant positive impact on sales of Listerine Zero, with 11 percent uplift in sales.  The results are particularly important, as the campaign was a test campaign to support Listerine Zero’s launch and no other forms of media activity, including point of sale had been conducted prior to (or during) the period that online advertising was run. The study compared activity in NSW, which saw online advertising, with Victoria, who had no advertising of any kind.

Listerine’s agency representative Antonia Farquhar,Digital Strategy Director at OMD said: “We have executed brand equity studies for our clients in the past however this study provided the final piece of the puzzle – actual attribution to sales from digital marketing.

“The fact that we now have a proven case of digital alone driving a 11 percent uplift in sales in the FMCG category is fantastic, these positive results are valuable to our client, our agency, and the wider digital community.”

Lillian Zrim, Associate Director – Insights and Innovation, Media Australia at Nielsen commented: “For some time now, research has shown that online advertising can have an impact on brand equity.  The results of this new study prove that online advertising can not only increase such brand measures as consideration and purchase intention for retail advertisers, but also have an impact on actual in-store sales. 

“Given that consumers are using online media at many touch points in their retail decision making process, and these findings prove that online advertising can convert to actual sales, it clearly demonstrates the importance for all retailers to consider the full potential of online advertising in their marketing mix.”

According to Paul Fisher, CEO of IAB Australia, online brand advertising is playing an increasingly significant role in moving products or brands into consumers’ consideration set. 

“This research and case study provides yet more clear evidence that online advertising should be considered in the marketing mix for retail campaigns. It clearly demonstrates its positive impact on brand equity measures and in particular online advertisings’ ability to convert interest to actual sales,” said Fisher.

Antonia Farquhar,Digital Strategy Director at OMD concluded: “OMD is always happy to work with industry and research partners to establish the effectiveness of digital as part of the marketing mix and we wouldn’t hesitate to participate in any future IAB research projects again.”


About the Interactive Advertising Bureau
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Limited is the peak trade association for online advertising in Australia and was incorporated in July 2010. As one of over 40 IAB offices globally, and with a rapidly growing membership, IAB Australia’s principal objective is to increase the share of advertising and marketing dollars that interactive media captures in the marketplace.

IAB Australia’s board includes representatives of Fairfax Media, News Digital Media, REA Group, Network Ten, Yahoo!7, APN News & Media, ninemsn,, Telstra, TressCox Lawyers and AIMIA.  It has four objectives: To develop, coordinate and promote industry standards and guidelines that make interactive advertising a simpler and more attractive medium for agencies, advertisers and marketers 

• To prove and promote the effectiveness of interactive advertising to advertisers, agencies, marketers, and the press
• To be the primary advocate for the interactive marketing and advertising industry
• To expand the breadth and depth of IAB membership while increasing direct value to members
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For more information please contact:
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IAB Australia

IAB Australia is the peak trade association for online advertising in Australia. As one of over 43 IAB offices globally and with a rapidly growing membership, the role of the IAB is to support sustainable and diverse investment in digital advertising across all platforms in Australia.