- Unilever took part in a six-week study on digital display ads that proved the ROI of the online format and led the consumer goods company to increase its digital display spending for its homecare division's shopper marketing program, per Marketing Week.
- The six-week test involved serving ads programmatically across mainstream sites such as The Guardian and was part of a larger year-long research project including Aimia, Sainsbury’s, Nielsen, i2c and the IAB.
- The digital display test included three Unilever brands – Persil, Magnum and Maille – and two Nestle brands – Nescafe and Haagen Dazs, and found an average ROI of £1.47, or $1.82 U.S. dollars, for every £1, or $1.24, spent for people shopping in Sainsbury’s.
With marketers still having many questions about how digital ads translate to in-store sales, IAB undertook the test to address questions around ROI and sales generation. The results of the test will hopefully add a level of reassurance that digital display is driving both online and offline sales, per Tim Elkington, COO at IAB.
Having the proof of solid ROI performance from the test allows marketers like Unilever to show their bosses how its digital ad spending is working with the goal of being able to allocate more spend to digital. Shopper marketing manager for Unilever Homecare, Stuart Jeffrey, told Marketing Week he got involved with the test because the company knew shoppers were increasingly going online and his department wanted to know if it should be changing how it allocates it ad budget.
Jeffrey added that the test proved the theory that online display impacts both online and in-store sales. One consequence of the study is Unilever's shopper marketing program for its homecare division will now spend more on e-commerce sites like Tesco and use programmatic ad buys to drive consumers to those sites.