Comparing the Effectiveness of the Web Site with Traditional Media

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Date: September-October 1998
From: Journal of Advertising Research(Vol. 38, Issue 5)
Publisher: World Advertising Research Center Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 3,728 words

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The Web is emerging as a new advertising medium vying strongly with the more traditional media. Despite the Web's capability of becoming a potentially powerful medium, there is little empirical research into the effectiveness of the Web compared with other advertising media. Using correspondence analysis and cluster-analysis techniques, this paper explores how Web managers perceive the Web site in relation to eight traditional media on ten key media attributes. Findings delineate the effective features of the Web site vis-a-vis traditional media. Managerial implications of the findings are discussed.

One marketing area that has been significantly affected by the Internet is promotion (Cartellieri, Parsons, Rao, and Zeisser, 1997). The phenomenal growth of consumers and businesses connecting to the Internet indicates a viable audience for advertising and promotional messages for many companies (Margherio, Henry, Cooke, and Montes, 1998). The Internet is potentially an attractive advertising medium. Many advertisers have already built the Internet into their media mix. In 1997, advertising expenditures on the Internet amounted to $900 million (Blankenhorn, 1998).


The Web is part of the Internet. It is multimedia-capable and user-friendly. With the increasing technological capabilities of the Web medium, it begs the question on the perception of the Web as an advertising medium. How do business managers perceive the Web vis-a-vis the other media? These perceptions influence how advertisers make media decisions and whether they include the Web in their media mix. To get an answer to that question, this study focuses on businesses that have already taken a significant step to use the Internet for promotional purposes by setting up Web sites.

While the Web has surfaced as an important advertising and promotion medium and competed with traditional media, there is a dearth of empirical studies comparing the relative effectiveness of the Web as an advertising medium.

In a study by Bush, Bush, and Harris (1998), it was found that "many organizations are uncertain or divided on how effective Internet marketing is to their organizations." This conclusion is not surprising given that the Internet is a new medium. It is important to find out what are their perceptions of the Web relative to other media on key media attributes, based on companies' experience of using the Web. As with any other media, the Web is expected to have relative advantages and disadvantages as an advertising medium. What are they?

Hoffman and Novak (1996) presented a conceptual map based on objective characteristics of media (for instance, an objective evaluation of the media's capability for audio, visual, or text content, interactivity, and so on). The Web was placed in an intermediate position, neither personal nor impersonal, dynamic nor static. While that is interesting, there is a need for empirical research to discover how advertisers perceive the Web relative to other media on dimensions they consider important in making their medium decisions.

This paper aims to explore the perceived position of the effectiveness of the Web as an advertising medium vis-A-vis several traditional media from...

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