Two separate studies find similar findings on how display complements search advertising.
In two separate studies, both Avenue A/Razorfish and Yahoo together with comScore Networks, found a mix of display and search advertising campaigns garnered the best results for companies. The Avenue A/Razorfish report also states a mix of brand and direct response advertising should be adopted, and final click-through impressions may be getting more credit than they deserve.
In "Close the Loop: Understanding Search and Display Synergy," a report created for Yahoo by comScore, the study shows online users exposed to both the search and display advertising campaigns purchased the advertiser's products and services 244 percent more online and 89 percent more offline compared to users not shown the ads. The study also states the users exposed to both types of ads increased their share of page views relative to competitive sites by 68 percent, and time spent by 66 percent.
In "Actionable Analytics" released by Avenue A/Razorfish, similar results were found for a mix of display and search advertising, finding that consumers exposed to display media were 27 percent more likely to click on a branded search term than those not shown the display ad. The same group was 41 percent more likely to complete an online purchase.
"Display media driving search is not a question anymore," said Lee Sherman, senior VP, global solutions for Avenue A/Razorfish and editor of the report. "Many of our clients are managing these media channels in silos, groups managing in display media and in search...but what a lot of them are realizing is that display media is driving search conversions. We found the lift to be anywhere between 30 to 80 percent."
The "Actionable Analytics" report goes on to show that companies should not follow either a branding- or direct response-only advertising approach, but a mix of the two as well. Advertisers should try to find a "hot zone" of brand and DR advertising based on their specific needs and industry, said Sherman.
"Intuitively it would seem to make sense, and this data helps us to say that beyond the fact of having a mix, you can be specific for a client [regarding] the right mix of DR and brand messages," he said.
Sherman went on to point out far too often companies "credit" the impact of a search click as creating a sale, when other advertising factors are playing an important role.
"Search click will get 100 percent of the credit but display is driving it," said Sherman. "It's not surprising that prior media impressions have an impact on convergence. What's surprising is that the industry has held onto that rule as long as it has -- that the last impression gets the credit."
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