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Synergy benefits in cross-media advertising are well-known. Much less is understood about the combined effects of television and online media on individual-level buying behaviors. A study involving the purchase cycle in China found that TV ads were more effective after prior online exposure in driving purchases, but not vice-versa.
Synergy is a key consideration in the development of an integrated marketing campaign. One reason the researchers chose China as their focus was the general tendency of Chinese consumers to like advertising, offering more potential for cross-media synergies. They asked: If prior online exposure helps TV ads, will TV ads help online ads? And, what is the impact of the sequence of those ads on individual purchasing behavior?
Among the findings:
- Response to advertising was dynamic for TV, but only through the strength of its synergy with prior online exposure.
- The observation—that prior TV exposure did not enhance the effectiveness of online advertising—suggests that the synergy effect is asymmetric in the direction of TV advertising.
- Online advertising did not achieve a recent exposure effect; rather, “its role was ancillary, much along the lines of a catalytic effect.”
- This suggests that “a minimum of two exposures per purchase cycle are required for advertising to be effective, provided that these exposures involve different media (TV and online).”
- There is regional variation in cross-media response in China.
- Households there were more responsive to advertising as they moved closer to a new purchase.
June So Lee (email@example.com) is a doctoral candidate in marketing at Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University, Montreal. His research focuses on how the effects of advertising change over time and the resulting strategic implications in budgeting advertising spending.
Demetrios Vakratsas (firstname.lastname@example.org) is associate professor of marketing and Bensadoun Faculty Scholar at Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University. His research focuses on advertising effectiveness, diffusion of innovations, health and pharmaceutical marketing and strategic market entry. He is a recipient of the American Marketing Association’s award for best paper in marketing communications.