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Display Boosts Search Performance

Display + Search > Search alone.

December 12, 2008

Display and search are directly correlated, judging by a Specific Media study of comScore data. Brand- and segment-related searches (for cars, automakers and vehicle classes) jumped by more than 100% in several categories after consumers were exposed to display ads for those brands.

“Display advertising significantly impacts search, site visitation and engagement,” said Chris Vanderhook, COO at Specific Media, in a statement.

Impact of Online Display Ad Campaigns* on Search Activity** in the US, by Advertiser Category, September 2007-August 2008 (% lift)

Search clickers exposed to display advertising were 22% more likely to produce a sale than those who were not exposed, according to a September 2008 study of Microsoft’s Engagement Mapping system by Atlas Solutions.

In a ClickZ article, Microsoft’s Young-Bean Song said the study results suggested that search alone was not a cure-all for customer acquisition.

“The issue we have with navigational search is that it completely obliterates the value we’re creating from other digital marketing we’re doing,” Mr. Song told ClickZ. “The idea that search is this magical fountain of customer acquisition—in many cases it’s not.”

David Hallerman, senior analyst at eMarketer, agreed that display can boost search.

“There is a connection between display and search ads,” he said. “Marketers know this intuitively. Often it’s not the search ad alone that gets consumers to act, but the context of all the marketing that preceded it.”

eMarketer predicts that search and display ads will retain the highest share of online ad spending formats through 2013, and will be the only formats to maintain double-digit share through that period.

US Online Advertising Spending, by Format, 2008-2013 (% of total and billions)

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