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Display advertising is starting to look like the little ad format that could lately. Online advertisers are moving away from click-through rates as a metric for display success, large companies from Google to Yahoo are stepping up their display efforts and now Nielsen has come out with numbers that imply display may be more effective for retailers than search advertising.

According to Nielsen, less than 10% of online retailers' web traffic, on average, comes from search engines. That's good news for display ads. But is it true?

Nielsen's findings are based on second-quarter traffic for 200 online retailers. They found that 61% of retailers' web traffic on average comes from people typing a web address into their browser bar. Comparison shopping sites, like NetTag or Shopzilla, accounted for 1% of traffic. Other referrals — like affiliate programs or advertising — accounted for the rest of traffic.

And the 9.5% of search traffic is likely diluted even more, by included brand searches, such as when a person types Amazon into the search bar when looking for a book instead of putting in the title name or other descriptors.

Increasingly, people know what they're searching for online. They type a specific type of shoe or a retailer into the search engine rather than a generic search term.

Ken Cassar, VP-industry insights at Nielsen's Online division, tells AdAge that out of the top 50 search terms revealed recently, only three weren't branded (and those three were pornographic):

"When you take a step back and look at that together -- the fact that such a high percentage of people go directly to retail sites and even those that search generally have a pretty clear intent as to which website they'd like to go to -- it makes a compelling argument that brand and past experiences [with a marketer] matter an awful lot and will be far more significant determinants of success than any customer acquisition strategy that they're going to engage in."

With that in mind, it may make sense for marketers to invest more heavily in display than search online. But that's not to say that search no longer matters.

In fact, search is hurt by the same problems that afflict display when it comes to clicks. Display advertising has long been trying to break free of the click as a measurement of effectiveness, but search isn't properly measured that way either. Conversion rates only count purchases made after the last click, meaning that search gets measured more effectively than display. Web surfers often see and remember display ads without clicking on them and then make purchases based on the ad later. But similarly, searchers often look for a product only to abandon their query and then come back to the site directly to purchase later. 

Nielsen's numbers are interesting, but it looks like they once again point back to the inneffectiveness of clicks as a measurement tool.

Meghan Keane

Published 3 November, 2009 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

721 more posts from this author

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jaamit

These stats look pretty dodgy to me - We work on a lot of retail sites and they average more like 50-60% traffic from search! This tells me that either (a) the fact that most sites are still pretty poor at search visibility is bringing the average down dramatically, or (b) the sample used by Nielsen is heavily skewed towards putting display ads in a positive light! 

Either way I dont think this is conclusive proof that display ads are "more effective" than search.  Even if they sent more traffic than search the conversion rates on display ads are, as a rule, far lower than those from search for the simple reason that people who visit via search are specifically looking for something; people who click on display ads may be, or they might just be distracted from what they were doing by an ad.

almost 7 years ago

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Dave

I work with some fairly large retail sites and I completely agree with Jaamit, search tends to drive a massive percentage of the traffic. I'd say roughly 60%-70% in most cases. In my opinion the sites that are only getting 10% of their traffic from search are either spending a ridiculous amount on banner ads, or they should be considering SEO or paid search.

almost 7 years ago

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Tom Telford

Surely it depends on what you are marketing?  If you have a product that isn't commonly 'searchable' (that is, there aren't obvious keyphrases associated to it) then display can be really useful because it's proactive.

almost 7 years ago

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jaamit

Tom give me an example. I've yet to come across a site that isn't 'commonly searchable'... (and i've come across some obscure, ultra niche sites).  Yes, some markets may be smaller than others, but that limits the opportunity across the board, display included. A site selling tap washers cant suddenly get massive traffic by slapping a huge display ad on The Sun website...  Basically, if you can think of it, you can search for it - there are always keywords associated with it.

almost 7 years ago

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Jonathan Stewart

Reading the article, I really can't see how they could infer that display sends more traffic than search.  Could be misreading it, or just not following it properly.

almost 7 years ago

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Yoshimi

I don't get it, 61% is direct, 10% is search, 1% is aggregators, so that leaves 28% spread between affiliates, refering sites and display?

What exactly is the percentage of traffic coming through display ads according to this study? I don't see how it can be that much higher than search, certainly not high enough to draw any conclusions from.

almost 7 years ago

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Mark Johnson

Id highly expect 'uber brands' like Amazon to get many more visitors coming through people typing the web address into their browser. Many people will have used them before and seeing as they sell most things theses days its a good starting point. But for most of the medium to small retailers (of which there are many!) the majority of them rely on search to drive most of the visitors to their site. Would love to see what the 200 online retailers are....

almost 7 years ago

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Ingo Bousa


I am also a bit sceptic regarding these very low search traffic figures. Interesting how everybody tweets this without questioning it. Our retail clients get way more traffic from search than 10%, that's for sure. Maybe that's why they are our clients ; )

"Increasingly, people know what they're searching for online. They type a specific type of shoe or a retailer into the search engine rather than a generic search term"

Yes. That's why covering the long tail is as important as ever. And that's where the traffic that delivers conversions is coming from. You don't automatically make conversions if you rank #1 for 'shoe'. But you make them if you rank #1 for 'ugg classic short metallic gold'

If you don't get enough traffic from search (regardles what's your niche), you probably need some quality common sense SEO.

almost 7 years ago

Adam Tudor

Adam Tudor, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at The Black Hole

Completely agree with what he been said - these figures only sound like half the picture to me, and as you know in web analytics - we need to see everything to draw reliable conclusions.

I'm going to assume at least that these '200 online retailers' mainly include massive blue chip brands - brands which have such strong customer loyalty that the majority of their customers are existing & repeat business, hence the very low search engine referrals.  Even then though, less than 10% is a figure I don't remember seeing with any of our clients, ever.

almost 7 years ago

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Tom Telford

Jaamit - a product that performs a specific task you didn't know you needed.  Lots of the web 2.0 sites provide really innovative services, which of course have keyphrases associated to them, but are people searching for them yet? Probably not.

You should still have search ads (or natural rank) for the keyphrases as part of the wider user journey.  This will change over time of course as awareness builds.

I do still agree that the Neilson stats look dodgy!

almost 7 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

The numbers don't quite work for me either, but I guess data is data. I wonder how big the sample was? And the demographics?

Search *has* to be bigger than 10%, based on *lots* of anecdotal evidence and other research.

Also, what about spend? If search generates something approaching 10x more ad spend than display then presumably search delivers better ROI?

I'm dubious about the 'display delivers more traffic' statement (especially given that display ads often generate average CTR of a fraction of one percent), but even if that is the case, the fact that search attracts far bigger budgets presumably reflects higher conversion intent.

Maybe a few retailers can steer us in the right direction?

almost 7 years ago

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jaamit

@Tom yep fair enough. but i meant an example of a retail site... cant think of any where the product is so new nobody knows they want it yet

@Mark dont understimate the huge amount of traffic Amazon gets via long tail searches. its practically at the heart of their business model. but of course, they get a lot of direct/brand traffic, which has in part been created by that long tail search success. In any case none of this relates to the idea that 'display ads drives more than search' - i think all of us here agree thats nonsense, and i definitely think it would be in Amazon's case.

almost 7 years ago

Matthew Curry

Matthew Curry, Head of Ecommerce at Lovehoney

For October - 62% of traffic of our traffic came from search.  19% direct, 10% email and the rest affiliates, referrers & display.  We're a niche business where long tail search terms perform far better than display ever could - you can't convey our business model easily in a display format.

Yes, a lot of our search traffic are brand terms, but non brand terms such as "meals on wheels" perform far better than our display efforts.

Does anyone have a nagging feeling this research has been "sponsored" by someone with a vested interest in Display?

almost 7 years ago

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claire stokoe

Have Nielsen just bought shares in DoubleClick?, why else would they publish these bogus stats? lol

Christ, i'm in social media and although i probably wouldnt argue too much with the comparison site referal figures, less than 10% from search is insane.

Should be ask for a Hitwise second opinon?

almost 7 years ago

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Peter Young

Can't be right. Theres no doubting the effect display has on on search however that ratio of display vs search traffic doesn't sit right with me particularly when one considers the general low CTR of display vs Search even for multinational organisations.

One can only assume they chose the retailers with huge offline budgets. no PPC activity, No organic search visibility and a huge display budget - however to base a statement on a subsection is a bit wide of the mark

almost 7 years ago

Joe Friedlein

Joe Friedlein, Director at Browser Media

Cannot deny that I too find these figures highly dubious.

I also think it would be worth looking beyond just traffic and analysing revenue - a good display campaign can indeed drive traffic but a lot of this traffic will be a response to the particular creative used and could well (in my humble opinion) fail to turn into actual sales revenue.

Product specific search terms will deliver HIGHLY targeted traffic and it is likely to convert well as the user is likely to be close to purchase - I just cannot see how display could compete with search in terms of pure ROI?

Perhaps not surprising opinion coming from a search agency, but I think the majority of responses above are echoing the same voice. Thank you Matthew Curry for some current data - that is closer to what I would expect to see.

almost 7 years ago

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Mark Higginson

This is hilarious as it is clueless. Where on earth is Nielsen getting its data from and how on earth are they reaching these conclusions? If I'm reading this post correctly what they're saying does not match any experience I have of traffic received by major retail sites. Worrying for their reputation as a supplier of reliable data surely?

almost 7 years ago

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David Lindop

There's not much I can add that hasn't already been said, but I feel compelled to call BS on this.

I've worked in a lot of retail markets, and I can't think of a single site that even comes close to this scenario.

None of my experience supports this, but I've got to hand it to you for getting the comments flowing :)

almost 7 years ago

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Search Analytics

Even i dont think there is some clarity in the data provided here. Telling that Search doesn't provide more traffic than Display looks like a farce to me. However we need to give some keen attention here and try to do our own research on this

almost 7 years ago

Chris Ailey

Chris Ailey, Managing Director at iThinkMedia

These figures don't add up at all. I currently manage search campaigns (both PPC and SEO) for several leading retailers in the UK and I can't think of one that gets less than at least 60-70% of all traffic from Search. 

A few factors obviously to consider.

1) Size of PPC budget

2) How good is their SEO (I'd be embarassed if one of our clients only received 10% of site traffic through SEO let alone search in total!)

3) Brand name popularity

4) Other online marketing channels they use

5) Customer/ Visitor loyalty (returning visitors)

Also from my experience working client-side  and being involved in a very extensive (and expensive!) display campaign the figures were always made up of impressions because CTR was so low. 

Not sure if this post was to show lack of knowledge by the poster or attract a large number of comments but you've certainly achieved one of the above judging on the reaction!

almost 7 years ago

Chris Ailey

Chris Ailey, Managing Director at iThinkMedia

I take back the last part of my comment (sorry Meaghan!)...

Nielsen are showing a lack of knowledge and obviously trying to publicise their interest in the display market. The poster (Meaghan @ econsultancy) has shown a great piece of marketing  by getting such a large volume of comments on her website!

almost 7 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

Hi Chris - we're just shining a light on Nielsen's data, nothing more. I happen to think it's seriously off the mark and want to find out more about the sample size and demographics. It doesn't remotely stack up from where I'm sitting...

c.

almost 7 years ago

Chris Ailey

Chris Ailey, Managing Director at iThinkMedia

Hi Chris - Wasn't questioning Econsultany's motive for posting this, just complimenting Meaghan on finding an article that has created such a thriving conversation online.

This is a great example of how Social Media has influenced what information can be taken seriously online when industry experts can react in such a way to clarify inaccurate data published by sites like Nielsen.

almost 7 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

Hey Chris - ah yes, I think we both posted our comments at the same time ;  ) I just wanted to say that we don't necessarily agree with all of the third party data we highlight on the blog. The comments / reaction speaks volumes...

almost 7 years ago

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Daniel Yonts

First, I'd like to thank my competitors for adopting the view that dominates these posts. They have helped my clients increase their exposure, brand and sales while lowering cost (A/S). Thank you so much! I know the effect of display advertising with CERTAINTY -- and with equal certainty know that search has become a "bubble consulting industry". OK, I'm going to go ahead and let loose the little secret. If you subtract branded searches from your SEO/SEM revenue, the ROI is barely distinguishable from display. In fact, I'd guess most retailers are barely breaking even on non-branded terms.

That leads to the next question. How to you generate more brand searches? One answer is display. Since search is less than 10% of all activity on the Internet, display presents a larger opportunity to reach highly targeted consumers -- establish awareness, interest, desire, action. Within a PPC model, you want to separate buyers from non-buyers in terms of clicks and get maximum exposures of conversion-centric messaging. Then, you watch branded searches and direct entries (view-throughs) increase. When you decrease this activity -- brand searches and direct entries decrease. SEO/SEM alone won't make more people search for your brand. 

Of course, some would argue that brand search and direct entries are driven by offline efforts to engage the AIDAS model (catalog, print, etc) -- especially in multichannel environments. Having served as an e-commerce executive for a Top 500 retailer, I'm familiar with these arguments. There was a time I almost believed this myth...until I worked with web-only retailers for a few years. 

This model requires a comfort with marketing concepts -- rather than just manipulating search results. Sure, I know the interests of those on this site are not served by elevating actual marketing over manipulating search algorithms. As someone who has spoken at conferences and been quoted in publications on the topic of search, its probably not in my short-term interest either. 

almost 7 years ago

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Daniel Yonts

First, I'd like to thank my competitors for adopting the view that dominates these posts. They have helped my clients increase their exposure, brand and sales while lowering cost (A/S). Thank you so much! I know the effect of display advertising with CERTAINTY -- and with equal certainty know that search has become a "bubble consulting industry". OK, I'm going to go ahead and let loose the little secret. If you subtract branded searches from your SEO/SEM revenue, the ROI is barely distinguishable from display. In fact, I'd guess most retailers are barely breaking even on non-branded terms.

That leads to the next question. How to you generate more brand searches? One answer is display. Since search is less than 10% of all activity on the Internet, display presents a larger opportunity to reach highly targeted consumers -- establish awareness, interest, desire, action. Within a PPC model, you want to separate buyers from non-buyers in terms of clicks and get maximum exposures of conversion-centric messaging. Then, you watch branded searches and direct entries (view-throughs) increase. When you decrease this activity -- brand searches and direct entries decrease. SEO/SEM alone won't make more people search for your brand. 

Of course, some would argue that brand search and direct entries are driven by offline efforts to engage the AIDAS model (catalog, print, etc) -- especially in multichannel environments. Having served as an e-commerce executive for a Top 500 retailer, I'm familiar with these arguments. There was a time I almost believed this myth...until I worked with web-only retailers for a few years. 

This model requires a comfort with marketing campaign concepts -- rather than just manipulating search results and tweaking bids. Sure, I know the interests of many are not served by elevating display. As someone who has spoken at conferences and been quoted in publications on the topic of search, its probably not in my short-term interest either. On the other hand, search has other value from a marketing perspective that makes it an essential marketing tool -- online and offline. That value relates to understanding markets and consumer intent -- rather than algorithms and narrow tactics. 

almost 7 years ago

Matthew Curry

Matthew Curry, Head of Ecommerce at Lovehoney

Sorry Daniel, but that absolutely does not hold up. The concept of targetted display is an oxymoron - even the best demographic targetting engines are akin to blind dart throwing. Show me a display network that allows me to only display my ads on sites predominantly visited by 80 year olds with special dietary requirements and I'll happily eat my hat. I can only speak form my experience, but I'm a small (well not that small, once you're over 80, we're everywhere) niche business, like 80% (by pareto logic) of ad buyers. We don't operate a mega brand where we can chuck our name out there, stick the cost into some fluffy "brand awareness" budget, cross our fingers and hope for the best. We've tried that and frankly, running through the streets throwing fivers in the air would generate more brand awareness. We even tried a behaviourally targetted display campaign with Yahoo DR, and the results were disastrous, especially as we were being asked for more and more money, even though the sales were quite clearly not coming in. It became clear that the product did not hold up to what was promised.. How many people do you really think search for "wiltshire farm foods"? Compared to how many people search for something like "meals on wheels". It's this non brand traffic like this that provides the incremental business that we thrive on. Search is everything. We know what they're looking for, and that we offer a solution. Our site is more relevant to their needs, and conversion rate remains high. Do you think I can convey what our service provides ( Frozen meals delivered, either to yourself if you're struggling to cook, or an elderly relative if you're worried they're not eating ) in a display format? Do you think sticking that ad on the front of MSN will do me any good at all? Display, in it's current format, needs to die. It's lazy, expensive and seems to hate concepts such as return on investment. Media owners needs to wise up that us as buyers will not buy space carte blanche anymore, we simply cannot afford to. We need focussed (I repeat, FOCUSSED) demographic data for their sites, not something cobbled together in a media kit, using ancient Experian data, we need a pay per click model, not per billion impressions, we need to know the motives, the psychology, why visitors are coming to your site, and what success previous advertisers have had. So far, this has not been forthcoming. However, is someone searches Google for "meals on wheels", I know what they're looking for, I can guess what situation they are in, and I can probably make a sale. That is why search works, and display just does not.

almost 7 years ago

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Daniel Yonts

Matthew

If I do display well, folks won't do a broad search that exposes them to my competitors -- where my conversion rates will be lower and my brand is determined by a text description of my offer. When I do display well -- which means messaging well, disqualifying non-buyers well, etc. -- more consumers will search for my brand and arrive via direct entry. I know this because the first campaign I launch for clients is a brand measurement campaign. Brand searches and direct entries account for the bulk of conversions, have the highest conversion rates and average order size. Therefore, it makes sense to do those things that impact these metrics.  

The assumption being made is that the AIDAS model doesn't apply in Internet Marketing. Somehow people will search for your brand without being aware of your brand, having interest in your brand or a desire related to your brand. The idea is that you just have to reach folks when they are ready to action. Yet, if site A establishes exposures with a consumer and site B has not, when a non-brand specific search is launched -- you will be at a disadvantage. 

To clarify, I understand how search works. I find search to be an incredible tool for marketers to understand consumer intent. I said as much at the Internet Retailer Conference in Boston where I spoke on SEM. The issue isn't the real value of search -- its the irrational, inflated value of search due to 1) skewed reporting, and 2) allocation of resources due to skewed reporting. Again, I ask every retailer to subtract their brand search revenue from SEM and tell me the ROI. I have certainty on this issue due to the campaigns I've managed for large and small campaigns. 

I also understand how display works -- which is merely how marketing campaigns work. The idea is to get the most exposures at the lowest cost -- resulting in the highest response. 300X250, 728X90, 336X280, 160X600 display ads provide much more bang for your buck than a text ad surrounded by your competitors. I can put these ads in front of those early in the buying process -- with laser focused targeting (by age, income, geographic location, gender, etc). I can make sure that my ads separate buyers from non-buyers. Finally, I can watch these efforts produce higher brand searches and direct entries.

Thanks to Google, I can also use AdWords to determine the true value of display ads within its content network. Google just launched a new metric called View Troughs. Based on my own metrics, I had an understanding of the impact of exposures. This tool, however, demonstrated how much I underestimated this impact. 

almost 7 years ago

Matthew Curry

Matthew Curry, Head of Ecommerce at Lovehoney

Thanks Daniel, that was quite a considered response. If you truly can provide "laser guided" display targetting that isn't based purely on Mosaic classifcation or the nonsense that Hitwise spits out, I suggest I give you a call.

However, I'd be really interested in how you do this? Everyone I speak to comes up with the same nonsensical "what about Saga?" response - they can't look past the paltry data that they have available to them - what do you do that is so different?

almost 7 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

@jaamit - I've worked on a few retail PPC campaigns with a very small search market. Here are a couple of examples (all from a while ago):

  • Intel Multi-port Gigabit Adapters (good luck spending your budget there!)
  • Microsoft Windows served via SaaS.
  • Drobo boxes. (probably easier now)

Managed to drive volume through these, but it wasn't easy. You need some way to tell people the product exists before they're going to search for it. 'Search' by definition is about delivering things to people that they already know they want.

@Daniel Yonts - think there's a grain of truth in what you're saying. display does drive increased brand search, generally speaking. but - as matt curry points out - there are big exceptional holes there.

Your argument also does very little to defend the Nielsen numbers. you're saying display is useful because it drives greater brand search traffic, which in itself would ruin Nielsen's numbers.

@matt curry - have you tried display retargeting? Theoretically it would only target your proven prospects (or current customers if you chose), and may therefore leave you eating your own hat (possibly on wheels).

Cool Stuff Google Could Do With Display

Will be interesting to see what happens with display. From a data point of view, Google could do it unbelievably well:

  • They know what your personal network looks like (from gmail, google chat, blogger, etc).
  • They know what you're interested in (from analytics, search, adsense). They can see when you're at the 'buying intent' phase (because you're reading & searching for things that their other users read immediately prior to buying - which they know through AdWords conversion tracking, analytics again).
  • They could even algorithmically sniff what each individual piece of ad creative was trying to sell (after a few sales that is).

Therefore if they got it all right, they could easily combine Amazon's "People like you bought..." methodology with their contextual stuff, with the knowledge of buying intent.

Weird Stuff Other People Could Do With Display

Facebook could nobble it pretty well too - the only bit they're missing is the actual 'product' information. they know your network & your interests, they just don't know what anyone is buying.

Elsewhere there are these weird & wacky technologies that can supposedly predict with 98% accuracy your age & gender purely by sniffing your mouse movements. Other things that claim to predict buying intent through modeling clickstream patterns, etc. I'm sure someone will lump a load of those things together at some point to be able to license to ad networks.

But for now, it's not the worst tactic on earth, but display definitely isn't as good, or as easy a 'direct sale' tactic as search.

(ps. @econsultancy - any chance of fixing the display of bullet points in comments?)

almost 7 years ago

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Daniel Yonts

Thanks Daniel, that was quite a considered response. If you truly can provide "laser guided" display targetting that isn't based purely on Mosaic classifcation or the nonsense that Hitwise spits out, I suggest I give you a call.

---------------------

I share your distrust of certain stats. What I've done in this regard is test assumptions in relation to display and search -- as well as turning to display due to lack of options. Prior to Google's View Through metric -- I would track brand searches to unique URLs based solely in display (microsites). Going from zero brand searches (cause nobody heard of my brand) to a hundreds of daily brand searches (provided some degree of certainty). 

An example of targeting would be the ability to reach people reading about food gifts and gift baskets on Google's content network -- instead of paid search and SEO. For the broad terms or long-tail terms, I wouldn't have the ad budget or the credibility to engage these intention via SEM. The volume is too high and the competitors can afford irrational bidding. I could, however, engage these intentions early in the buying process -- as consumers gather info. For the same cost, I could reach 100,000 targeted consumers (those interested in gift baskets) versus 5,000 folks searching for gift baskets that I'm likely to get in front of given competitive factors. Since the larger competitors have given up on display, the cost is low. Also, since I'm engaging folks early on -- they aren't quite ready to buy or click. CTR rates are lower and I design my messaging to make this lower still -- disqualifying non-buyers.

"However, I'd be really interested in how you do this? Everyone I speak to comes up with the same nonsensical "what about Saga?" response - they can't look past the paltry data that they have available to them - what do you do that is so different?"

I just apply marketing concepts that are often ignored. Name, having defined markets, messaging around those markets, testing messaging, measuring response and optimizing based on results. Its similar to what those who do print ads or traditional media might do. The difference is that I'm able to measure and target with much greater precision. Having applied this to web-only retailers has provided me with certainty. 

almost 7 years ago

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Daniel Yonts

think there's a grain of truth in what you're saying. display does drive increased brand search, generally speaking. but - as matt curry points out - there are big exceptional holes there.

Your argument also does very little to defend the Nielsen numbers. you're saying display is useful because it drives greater brand search traffic, which in itself would ruin Nielsen's numbers.

-------------

Subtract brand searches from SEM (paid/organic) revenue and that provides a more accurate SEM ROI. Brand searches inflate SEM ROI and deflate other channels. Just a fact. Brand searches don't include direct entry view throughs (folks visiting site without clicking ad or doing a brand search) -- also a result of effective display ads. The truth is that Google's view through metric will make this obvious to all those who develop a PPC display campaign. Measuring actual incremental value of search will provide a truer picture -- assuming the marketer wants a truer picture. I'm certain that many know of what I speak but have a vested interest in promoting the myth you've endorsed. All that I know is what I've discovered via testing and analysis over the past 12 years.

Having said this, it is my hope that my client's competitors will follow your lead in this regard. I like the artificially low prices for display ads and I love it when I'm given free reign to become a category leader  -- when my brand becomes synonymous with the intent your targeting via search. Of course, I'll still compete in search for broad and long-tail terms -- but my connection with the consumer will be stronger when this occurs. They'll know my brand, what it does, what it means and why they want it. You'll need to start from scratch or accept much, much lower conversion rates. 

almost 7 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

Daniel: I'd be surprised if there are many people not tracking their brand/non-brand separately. I think you may have misunderstood the original article. The article was about Nielsen's numbers stating 'search' to be a very low driver at 9.5% including brand.

almost 7 years ago

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Daniel Yonts

Dan,

Yes, your right. I was simply pointing out how SEM ROI is inflated and display ads are deflated. Considering that search represents around 5% of online user activity -- Neilsens numbers sound about right. I'm not saying this because I'm an antagonist of search. On the contrary, I know how powerful search is for Marketers (online and offline). I love search. I'm an industry leader in search (intention-based marketing). At issue is the fact that if retailers currently have an irrational dependence on search -- based on how they calculate ROI. I disagree that marketers break out branded terms from non-branded terms from search reporting. They don't do this because they won't like what they see -- and their clients, CEOs, investors wont like what they see. How they get by is the ignorance of these groups -- since no one finds it to their advantage to point out this fact. Those who don't know how to develop effect messaging and targeting strategies (apply fundamental marketing/sales concepts) find these facts threatening. These leads to the lowers sales and the belief that Internet Marketing isn't about marketing at all (i.e., persuading others to take action). 

almost 7 years ago

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Christopher Stigson

This was a really interesting read actually. The argument wheter or not "display ads" and "banners" would be better than search. Even if it send "more traffic" is it really relative in the same way as search? Can you really target the crowd in the same way as you can with search? I don't think so... I mean with PPC you can easily bid on like "franchise opportunity" and know they are interested in big business, have tons of money to spend, and pitch them an "online franchise" for BIG BUCKS... It would be harder to get that same visitor from forbes.com or entreprenuer.com without PPV or Contextual AdWare advertising... Just my 2c - Chris

almost 7 years ago

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JHardy

@Daniel

>>If you subtract branded searches from your SEO/SEM revenue, the ROI is barely distinguishable from display.

Entirely inaccurate in our case - we're in travel and I can guarantee that branded searches only make up around 10% of our search SEO / SEM revenue.

 I'm also with most posters here that the figures for search traffic really don't stack up for me - Search makes up over 80% of our traffic

almost 7 years ago

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daniel

im in extreme sports and branded searches make up about 30% of my revenue. but thats were the differences are, and needs change, and the different types of keyword useage.

over 6 years ago

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mildred

First off they only used 200 companies not enough to convince me that this is accurate or even close. Why fix it if it isn't broke! I am going to stick with my methods and keep raking in 10k a week in sales from old school advertising. When this no longer works then i'll move on to other methods!

over 4 years ago

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