Sponsored text advertising in the search milieu dramatically boosts brand impact, a study has found.
The study, conducted by Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Nielsen//NetRatings, found that sponsored text advertising in the search environment works for a plethora of branding objectives. Sponsored text ads, much like the standard image-based ads, had their biggest effect on "unaided brand awareness," especially where a brand held a top position on search results pages.
"Brand advertisers, who are not yet placing search advertising, may be missing out on a share of voice opportunity for keywords relevant to their categories," says Marc Ryan, senior director, analysis of Nielsen//NetRatings. "This research suggests that the optimal media mix includes search and display ads, a combination which allows advertisers to take advantage of the push/pull dynamics of the Web while still delivering on core branding metrics."
When survey respondents were asked to identify a specific leading brand within a tested industry, they were 27 percent more likely to name the brand displayed on the top compared with a control group not exposed to the ad. For the articles page, the text ad caused a 23 percent increased among those who saw the ads.
The research results indicate that there is a significant difference on a core brand metrics movement, depending on the placement of the text ad. Ads on the top position of a search engine rose an aggregate of all brand metrics by an average of 14 percent across the six industries, compared with results from ads in the fifth position, which only showed a small directional increased on brand measures. Search articles generated an aggregate increase of all brand metrics by 15 percent.
"This latest IAB study provides more evidence that sponsored search is an integral part of a successful online marketing campaign," says Eric Rasmussen, chairman, IAB search engine marketing subcommittee. "Additionally, the research highlights the effectiveness of integrating sponsored search, contextual ads and banners for marketers to achieve their brand awareness objectives."
Which industries do you anticipate will push the online envelope in 2007?
Hague: I think Nielsen will wake up and try to be more customer-focused in their audience/user measurement efforts.
Gluck: Probably two categories: consumer packaged goods, which are finally starting to get creative with online advertising, as well as with distribution strategies. One good example: Coca-cola’s Grand Theft Auto Ad. It’s clever, inventive and funny, twice as long as a 30-second spot and all over YouTube. I believe it was originally created as a movie theater ad, by a British production company, for distribution in the U.S., but I can’t recall ever seeing it in the theater. If this is the future of CPG advertising, the outlook looks bright.
The other to push the envelope is the entertainment industry, particularly television networks. We’re finally starting to see the idea of consumer feedback integrated into the story architecture take hold: American Idol, the Horny Manatee on Conan O’Brien, all of the Colbert Report. And it's beginning to affect production, marketing and distribution in film as well (see: Plane, Snakes on). Traditional media is beginning to look a lot more like video games -- aesthetically, culturally, narratively.
Horan: Automotive and packaged goods, based on some of the creative work they have done in 2006 and the budget that they can bring to the table. I think we will continue to see these marketers apply the sophisticated marketing ROI that they bring from the offline world to the interactive platform.
Cummings: Passions, cause, non-profits and independent advocacy groups will do the most to move the space. It was the Howard Dean campaign that showed the power of blogs to tap into the micro-donation market. I believe that extensions of what Kiva.org did for micro-lending, TerraPass.com and CarbonFund.org are doing in Carbon Offsets will explode in 2007 and extend outward into businesses like pharma. The elimination of the group to truly 1:1 assistance will be a fundamental shift in 2007.