Display Ad Spend Grows at 17% Annually – Have You Considered the Impact on Search?


From sponsored posts on Facebook and Twitter to display retargeting campaigns, businesses have to choose wisely in order to ensure positive ROI on their marketing campaigns. When there are a number of online advertising options available for businesses, it can be difficult to decide which is best. While some may be cautious about the potential impact of display advertising on their bottom line, a recent Harvard Business School study, found that display ads have a significant impact on search applications, as well as clicks, and search ads showed significant dynamic effects on search applications that made them very cost effective in the long run. Forrester expects interactive display marketing investment to grow at a compound annual rate of 17% in the United States between 2012 and 2017. Here’s how your display advertising campaigns can impact search.

Branded Search Queries

A small number of studies examine the interaction between paid search and display. However, these studies have found that display advertising has an overall positive impact on branded search queries. Online display advertising essentially spills over, leading to an increase in brand awareness and branded searches. For those businesses looking to build brand awareness, consider your current investment in display advertising. Have you seen any spikes in branded search terms that align with your display campaigns? You probably have, but here’s how display advertising can affect branded search queries by the numbers:

  • A 2012 field experiment to explore the impact of display advertising on advertiser – and competitor – branded search queries found a 27%-45% lift in searches attributable to display advertising exposure within a very short time window (10 minutes).
  • A recent study found keyword searches for the brand increased by an average of 94% for consumers exposed to a display ad compared with a group of similar consumers who were not exposed to display advertising.
  • Another study found that combining display with search increases brand recall, by those who had been unaware of it before, by 6% and for aided brand recall, that rate jumped to 26% of participants.

Product Search Queries

Branded search queries aren’t the only searches impacted by display advertising. The combination of organic search plus display advertising leads to a lift in specific product search queries. If you’re launching a new product or set of products, display advertising can help generate buzz and boost searches for the release. Here’s how display advertising affects product search queries by the numbers:

  • One study found that exposure to a display ad increases the number of relevant search queries submitted by 5-25% when conducting a field experiment to explore the impact of display exposure on search queries.
  • A recent survey found that about 50% of all internet users react to a display ad by conducting a search related to the brand or product described in the ad and 14% of users make a purchase after conducting the search.
  • Another study found a 14% change in search visits after a company activated its display advertising campaign. In the Harvard Business School’s, display ads improved search ad conversion by 15‐20%.

Search isn’t the only area impacted by display advertising.  Display advertising drives search applications through search impressions and clicks. The Harvard study found that display impressions move consumers through search media, whether it’s through search or direct click-throughs. Not only that, they discovered display ads have a significant impact on search applications, as well as clicks, though the majority of this spillover took effect after two weeks. Targeted display advertisers on Business.com experience average click-through rates that are over 250% of the industry average. These studies, as well as others, indicate that display advertising does affect search. For companies looking to increase the number of searches about their business or products they offer, display advertising is an option to consider.

What success has your business seen with display advertising? Is there something you would change in the display ad space?

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