This study examines how online display ads, alone or in combination with more conventional media (television and print), can help drive sales in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) sector. It also assesses how the combined sales effect of online and offline ads depends on the volatility of their expenditures over time. We explore these relations for 154 brands across 68 Dutch CPG product categories. We find that, even though display ads are not effective for the “average” CPG brand, they do have a significant impact for a sizable, and considerably larger than expected by chance, subset of brands. Importantly, this impact depends on the type of product. While display ads are found to be ineffective for low-involvement utilitarian products, they can significantly enhance sales for other CPG product types. Moreover, the effect depends on whether they are used in combination with other media: while display ads are best used as a stand-alone medium for high-involvement utilitarian products, it is better to combine them with traditional media for hedonic products. Finally, the long-term effectiveness of display messages increases significantly when they are spread more evenly in time.
- display ads
- CPG products
- product category characteristics
- dynamic cross-media effects
- spending volatility