In the midst of growing fear of the second screen (laptops, smartphones and tablets) by television advertisers, Rady School Assistant Professor of Marketing, Kenneth C. Wilbur, teamed with colleagues from Cornell University and Harvard Business School on a study entitled “Television Advertising and Online Shopping.” The study, published in Marketing Science, sought to answer two questions: Do Television ads drive web traffic and sales from multitaskers? If so, how does it work?
Wilbur and the other authors coded and tracked over 1,000 TV advertisements by 20 large brands that were then cross referenced with the brands’ internet browsing and shopping data during commercial breaks.
Contrary to television advertisers’ fear that the second screen distracts viewers from advertisements, the results of the study suggest the second screen has an upside of providing multitaskers a virtual store in consumers’ pockets, increasing immediate web traffic or purchase for advertisers. What’s more, the study found differing web traffic and sales results depending on ad content differences such as action-focused and direct-response tactics versus emotional and informative arguments.
The study also suggested a second possible upside of the second screen – by making it easier for consumers to react to advertising, the second screen may help advertisers to better measure the difficult questions of how and when their ads are effective. “Lack of measurability has long been an Achilles’ heel of traditional television advertising,” stated Wilbur, “For the first time, this research could lead to more targeted and effective television ad placements for advertisers.”
Beyond teaching marketing at the Rady School, Professor Wilbur provides research focused on the intersection of advertising, media, and technology. In addition to Marketing Science, Professor Wilbur has been published in leading journals and his research has won major awards and has been presented worldwide.
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Lauren Herr is the Social Media Manager for the Rady School. In her free time she can be found snapping landscape pictures and taking advantage of San Diego’s amazing beaches and coffee shops.