Eyeblaster Tries to Bridge Gap Between Display and Search

Why pay for display advertising if consumers are just going to search for what they want anyway? It’s a question that’s nagged media agencies and their clients for years, particularly as search marketing has maintained its growth momentum and display spending has flagged.

Digital ad firm Eyeblaster has now joined the growing field of firms, including Microsoft, that hope to answer that question.

Eyeblaster has introduced Channel Connect for Search, a service that helps marketers track consumers who click on their display ads but do not transact immediately.

The service places a cookie on a user’s computer that remains on his or her desktop for 30 days. Eyeblaster customers can then identify those individuals when they later convert through search.

“It bridges the gap between display and search advertising,” said Thomas MciIheran, senior media manager with digital media agency Sicola Martin, which is based in Austin, TX. “It’s such valuable information, because there are clients who say display advertising isn’t working, and they think they should stop. This could be eye opening for them, because it shows that display is leading to search, and how much.”

The service is now in beta testing mode, with media agencies such as Sicola Martin and Mindshare trying it out for select marketers. McIlheran said his agency is using Channel Connect for one client now, but wouldn’t disclose which one; Mindshare is using it on behalf of LG Electronics.

The new service is “able to pinpoint crucial campaign data and draw important insights about the interaction of our search and display ads,” said Harry Case, director of media analytics and technology at Mindshare, in a written statement. “In the end, it provided us with a more comprehensive overview of user behavior.”

As for what the service can’t do, McIlheran noted that it does not provide demographic information, and that one can never truly tell whether a subsequent search was actually the result of seeing a banner ad. Still, he said Channel Connect was unusual and innovative enough that he had “every intention of getting every single client on this.”

The product announcement comes a week after Microsoft announced general availability of Engagement Mapping, a tool that allows advertisers allocate credit for conversions across a variety of customer contact points.

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