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Does Web Advertising Work? Memory for Print vs. Online Media

By Authors: S. Shyam Sundar, S. Narayan, R. Obregon, and C. Uppal


"The ability to see the full ad in printed form remains a strong point of the medium."

Source: Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Winter 1998, 75(4), pgs. 822-35.

Type of Promotional Material/Activity Tested: Print and online advertisements and news story content.

Sample Population: Forty-eight undergraduate students enrolled in communication classes, split into two groups with an equal number of male and female students in each group.

Methodology: Controlled experiment used to measure memory differences for identical content communicated via print and online media. Specifically, the experiment measured and compared recall and recognition of advertising and news story content from the front page of a printed newspaper and a website.


Independent variable:
  Dependent variable:
  Controlled variable:
  Top Line Results:
Take Away: Print ad content was recognized at a higher level than what was delivered online. "An important practical implication of this study is that, in order for web advertising to work, advertisers have to do more to attract readers than they would in the print medium. For example, animated ads as opposed to still ads might be needed to attract online users. "  Though Internet advertising was a novelty in 1998, the ability to see the full ad in printed format remains a strong point of the medium. A replication of this work in this decade is worth doing.

Complexity rating of original source: 2 out of 3 (Complex statistical analysis scale: 1= none, 2= moderate, 3 = difficult)

Source:  Summary of Does Web Advertising Work? Memory for Print vs. Online Media (freely available full-text of this article is not available)