Effective Online Display Ads Attract Search Activity

A study by iProspect revealed that there are as many Internet users who respond to online display ads by performing search as those who directly click on the ad. This means that ads are not only meant to be clicked. They also influence netizens on how they behave when using search engines.


Key findings of the study indicate that while online display is an effective marketing channel on its own, it’s effectiveness does not end there; its power is substantially improved when it is paired with search engine marketing. So based on the results of this study, online banner marketers should leverage on the power of search marketing to yield better ROI numbers.

More than half of Internet users (52%) actively respond to online display advertising, demonstrating that this is an effective channel to facilitate interaction with a brand; almost a third (31%) respond by clicking on the ad itself.

Responding to an online display advertisement conventionally means simply clicking on them. But a new spin into this response now means in addition to clicking, which accounts less than a third of the total number of impressions, going online and making relevant search query. This tremendously helps reveal the effectiveness of an ad. And while it is difficult to directly quantify the number of people performing related search in a real-word scenario, this study should prove the point.

Almost as many Internet users respond to online display advertising by performing a search on a search engine (27%) as those who simply click on the ad itself (31%). This finding speaks to the symbiotic relationship between the two channels, and the power of search engine marketing to boost the effectiveness of display. If marketers are going to invest in online display, they should consider search as a form of insurance for that investment as it will help them capture the demand that display advertising can create.

Have you noticed that advertisers have anticipated what consumers might have in mind? Look at the photo above and you’ll get a hint that they are illustrating the use of search engines to find more information about the brand. In my opinion, this is more convenient for consumers. It’s easier to remember two steps (go to Google.com/Yahoo.com and search for IXUS or Sony Bravia) than one (enter the long URL www.sonystyle.com.hk/ss/product/tv/index_e.jsp in your browser). The important thing advertisers need to ensure is that the product information page ranks well on search results. (I believe they will, owing to the brand-centric stance Google favors lately.)

Internet users are more likely to engage with and/or eventually make a purchase from brands that are already familiar to them. One third of Internet users (33%) who respond to online display advertising eventually purchase from a company/offering with which they are familiar — more than twice the number who eventually purchase after learning of an offering/company for the first time from online display advertising (14%).

This finding reveals that the symbiotic relationship between display ads and search activity works better for more established brands than newcomers. But it doesn’t mean a losing cause for the less known ones. The study indicates purchase activities come from confident customers who may not necessarily be brand loyalists.

Nearly four in ten Internet users (38%) who respond to online display advertising learn about a brand for the first time as a result of their exposure to such an ad. This finding validates display as a viable channel for building brand awareness and not just driving sales.

We always say that the bottomline of any business is to drive sales and make money. But in addition to such direct benefit is the intangible property called brand awareness. Online display is a good medium to introduce the brand. This introduction could be a beginning of a lasting relationship between the brand and the consumer.

Nearly four in ten Internet users (38%) who respond to online display advertising also EVENTUALLY perform a search on the company, product, or service that is the focus of the online display ad to which they are exposed, and then visit the website from the search results; while 14% do the same but then actually purchase a product or service. When these two groups are combined and added to those that perform a search but DO NOT click on any of the results, the aggregate figure reveals that nearly half of Internet users (49%) who respond to online display advertising EVENTUALLY perform a search on a search engine for the company, product, or service that was the focus of the online display ad to which they were exposed. Not only does this finding demonstrate the power of display to drive search, but it also speaks to the fact that marketers will miss a considerable percentage of potential respondents if they don’t support their display efforts with search engine marketing.

I think this strongly indicates the power of online advertising in terms of attracting Internet users to perform search queries related to the advertisement. 38% is a big portion of Internet users exposed to the ads who search for the company, product or service so it will be a missed opportunity if one sees an ad of a new digital camera, decides to Google it but doesn’t find the official website on search results. Instead the benefit goes to review sites or camera gadget blogs.

When the latency element is factored in, the number of Internet users who perform a search for the company, product, or service that was the focus of the online display ad to which they were exposed nearly doubles from 27% who perform a search as their initial response to 49% who EVENTUALLY perform a search at some point after exposure to an ad.

We don’t expect that the search activity associated with the online ad will happen outright. 27% of such Internet users may have the urge to do so, but eventually the figure will rise up to almost half sooner or later.

Such study relates to us that online ads are still effective marketing channels to attract consumers to convert sales or expose a brand. But more importantly, it has been proven empirically that online ads have strong association with search engine use.