NEW YORK: Media plans that include mobile and desktop advertising executed simultaneously with traditional offline media consistently drive greater lift across brand impact metrics than traditional offline media alone, a new study has found.

The IAB analysed ad effectiveness across five campaigns in different categories – automotive, CPG, retail, finance and media – for its Cross-Media Ad Effectiveness Study and reported that the inclusion of digital ad formats in a traditional campaign improved brand impact both individually and in combination with traditional media formats.

Digital advertising alone may be effective for some brand metrics, it said, but when combined with other media it becomes "a critical part of a mix that can be used to reinforce messages seen offline".

So, for example, analysis of a campaign advertising the launch of a new auto model showed that the inclusion of mobile web ads combined with any other media lifted brand familiarity by 19%.

The best channel combinations typically included at least one of these digital options – mobile web, mobile app and desktop – and TV.

Looking again at the auto campaign, a combination of desktop plus mobile web plus TV resulted in a 211% lift in unaided brand awareness.

This same combination was also responsible for 47% of the total campaign lift in purchase intent in a campaign for a well-known CPG food brand.

Separate research from Nielsen has demonstrated that cross-media campaigns increase reach – an average of 4.4% digital incremental reach against TV, although that figure is "largely meaningless", according to Phil Sumner, Nielsen client business partner.

Writing in a recent issue of Admap, he advised that brands need to understand where they are on their respective reach curves today and the implications for total reach by reallocating spend between media types.

Reach, he suggested, is the basic starting point in any consideration of the relationship between TV and digital. It is, he said, "like getting the right players on the football pitch. Formation and tactics are hugely important to achieving success but are of diminished importance if not all the players are on the pitch".

The interplay of different media is also the topic for the 2017 Admap Prize: How should TV and social be used to maximum effect? The closing date for entries is February 13.

Data sourced from IAB, Admap; additional content by Warc staff