A recent Atlas Digital Marketing Insight titled, “The Combined Impact of Search and Display Advertising,” reveals some interesting stats about the combined use of online display ads (banners) and clicks on search ads in the same campaign.
The study, tracked across 11 advertisers for the month of April 2006 showed that:
- Campaigns combining search and display ads provided a 22% conversion rate lift compared with search alone
- Users exposed to both display and search ads convert at a rate of 400% better than display alone
- Search and display conversion rate varies quite a bit (as much as 8x) between advertisers, so it’s very important to monitor your campaign to see how well it converts when display ads (or search ads) are added to the mix
- Users who viewed three or more impressions in combination with one search click had better results than those who viewed one or two impressions (although too much of a good thing, e.g., two many impressions had the opposite effect)
It comes as no surprise to me that display ads such as banners which have long been paired with branding campaigns (as opposed “response”) can actually help foster conversion when paired with search ads. I’ve worked on a variety of online marketing campaigns and it’s always the ones that incorporate multiple tactics (e-mail, search, CPA, SEO) that are the most successful. When you are thinking about your 2007 media plan, it is important to look beyond any one tactic to the big picture when trying to achieve overall success.
How can you apply the above knowledge to your own campaigns?
One way to start experimenting with banner ads and other display ads is via Google’s content network which allows advertisers to upload a variety of creative types to an existing Adwords campaign. Banners associated with keyword-targeted campaigns are displayed on a CPC basis. Advertisers can also create a banner-only campaign on select content sites (this is called “site-targeting” in Google). Banner only site targeted campaigns are charged on a CPM basis via a bidding system. It is still comparatively cheap to start off with display advertising through Google’s content network since you aren’t paying a premium CPM for impressions.
Content networks (in addition to Google’s AdSense network) such as ContextWeb present another option to get a lot of exposure on from your ads for a fairly low CPM (image ads are generally charged on a CPM basis) on premium web sites where the CPM is ordinarily very high.
An important take away from this report is the importance of using multiple channels to reach your target audience. Sure, search marketing is great and very often it’s effective, but it’s not the only way to reach your target audience. As search becomes more expensive, getting an adequate return on investment will become more difficult.
Increasing your campaign’s performance (and achieving your ROI goals) may be as simple as differentiating the media you use to reach people. It will surely set you apart from advertisers who stay stubbornly focused on one tactic, be it search or otherwise.