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Search and Display Work Better Together

Tandem use raises conversion rates.

Campaigns which use both display ads and search marketing convert more online shoppers into buyers than those which use only one of these tactics.

That is the main finding of a Yahoo!/comScore study called "From Clicks to Bricks: The Impact of Online Pre-Shopping on Consumer Shopping Behavior."

Among consumers in the study group who had been exposed to both search and display ads, 43% made in-store purchases, compared with 26% of those who had viewed only search ads, and 6% of those who had only seen display ads.

The search/display combination also increased in-store spending. Those consumers who had seen both ad types spent an average of 83% more than those who had not seen either type of ad.

In comparison, consumers who had seen only search ads spent 26% more, on average, than those who had not seen any ads. Exposure to display ads lifted in-store sales an average of 11% over spending by buyers who had not seen any ads.

A similar study of online buyers conducted about a year ago yielded even more dramatic results. Atlas' "The Combined Impact of Search and Display Advertising — Why Advertisers Should Measure Across Channels" found that exposure to both ad types increased conversion rates by 400% over display ads alone.

Many studies on the effectiveness of search and display compare the two, rather than looking at them in tandem. This search vs. display approach often measures click-through rates (CTRs) rather than conversions. CTR is a fundamental metric of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

By this measurement, the search click rate tends to surpass that for display ads. Morgan Stanley estimates a steady rise in the search marketing CTR from 10.4% in 2003 to 12.6% in 2010.

Get a closer look at search. Please read the eMarketer Search Marketing: Counting Dollars and Clicks report.

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