The internet is attracting more adspend as it proves itself to be an effective ad medium, according to new US research.

Speaking at a stateside branding conference, Nielsen/NetRatings senior analyst Charlie Buchwalter revealed that web advertising accounted for 3.3% of total adspend in 2003, up from 3.1% in 2002. At the same time, ecommerce grew from 2.5% to 3.2% of total retail.

Buchwalter highlighted research that demonstrates the effectiveness of online campaigns. In particular, he cited a study that examined the Hungriest Player internet promotion for Masterfoods' Snickers brand by using Nielsen/NetRatings data alongside figures from AC Nielsen's HomeScan consumer panel.

Buchwalter revealed that 52% of consumers who visited the Hungriest Player website bought a Snickers bar during the promotion period. In addition, visitors to the site were twice as likely to buy the product as web users who didn't reach it.

His findings were echoed by Dave Adelman, director of media futures innovation at Johnson & Johnson. "The internet can make your ads work harder," he agreed.

Adelman cited a J&J experiment that involved an online quiz tied in with a TV show on the ABC network. So successful was the quiz that J&J is planning two more interactive television ventures this year.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff