Search & Display: 1+1=3?

By Jeff Campbell, VP, Senior Account Director

Display advertising has been under a lot of scrutiny over the last few years, especially as media budgets tighten and Paid Search continues to be the online marketing dandy. Recent research found 46% of people ignore banner ads. Further, Display’s average Click Thru Rate (CTR) of 0.10% (pdf) certainly pales in comparison to Paid Search’s 2%+. Poor Display, compared to Paid Search yet again. Why doesn’t anyone ever compare Display to Magazine or Newspaper? After all, the intention is nearly the same: get an offer/promotion/brand in front of a potential consumer for purchase consideration (…I’ll save that topic for another post). The fact of the matter is display advertising causes consumers to search, aiding the success of paid & natural search engine marketing campaigns.

To follow-up on a previous post about Display boosting Search performance, here are some stats from a recent client homepage takeover on Yahoo!. Y! was able to link our top brand keywords to the display ad exposure to examine if there was a relationship to that Y! homepage impression and brand keyword searches. Consumer activity was compared to a “control” group where searchers were not exposed to the homepage takeover (i.e. they searched from Facebook or Y! Finance) during the same period. The findings:

  • Consumers exposed to the homepage takeover (display ad) were 2x more likely to search for the brand
  • With 37MM unique users visiting per day (comScore), Y! estimates nearly 42,000 consumers searched a brand term after seeing that homepage display ad
  • Overall, this represents a 148% lift for brand searches by running the display ad

Thanks to research such as Y!’s Close the Loop (pdf) study back in 2006, we’ve all known there is a relationship between Search & Display, the next step was to test these general findings for our specific clients. This homepage takeover was one test, and it’s still not complete yet. Over the next few weeks, we’ll want to judge the impact on e-commerce as well as watch the lift for a full 30-day latency period. Bottom line: as you are starting your 2010 planning, don’t forget that your advertising mediums do not work in a vacuum and be sure to investigate the total/cross impact of the entire portfolio. Props to Y! for providing the tools to track the impact for Search & Display.


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