Branding Boosted By Paid Ads, Research Says
A few years ago, Overture did some research to show that paid ads help support brand building. I saw that as a move to help win some of the big branding dollars over to search.
Now the IAB (funded by many major search companies and SEMs) and NetRatings have published new research showing a brand lift. Haven't yet seen the release online yet, so I'll repost what I was sent:
New York, NY-July 14, 2004--IAB and Nielsen//NetRatings today presented innovative research that demonstrated the effectiveness of sponsored text advertising in moving brand marketing metrics within the online advertising environment. The IAB Search Engine Effectiveness Committee commissioned Nielsen//NetRatings' "Internet Search Brand Effectiveness Research," project, which studied brand impact of text and search advertising for leading brands from the Health, Auto, Beverage, Electronics, Retail and Finance industries. The research was presented at the first IAB Search Road Show stop in Los Angeles
The study demonstrated that sponsored text advertising in the search environment works for an array of branding objectives. Sponsored text ads, much like the standard image based ad, had their biggest impact on "unaided brand awareness," especially where a brand held the top position on search results pages. On average, when respondents were asked to name a specific leading brand within a tested industry, they were 27 percent more likely to name the brand displayed in the top spot compared to a control group not exposed to the ad. For the articles pages (pages containing contextually targeted text advertising), the text ad caused a 23 percent lift among respondents that saw the ads.
The research findings, as analyzed by Nielsen//NetRatings, reported that there is a significant difference on core brand metrics movement depending on the placement of the text ad. Ads appearing in the top position on a search engine increased an aggregate of all the brand metrics by an average of 14 percent across the six industries, in stark comparison to results from ads in the fifth position, which only showed a minor directional lift on brand measures. Search articles pages generated an aggregate lift of all brand metrics by 15 percent.
"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," said Marc Ryan, Senior Director, Analysis, 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."
"This latest IAB study provides more evidence that sponsored search is an integral part of a successful online marketing campaign. Additionally, the research highlights the effectiveness of integrating sponsored search, contextual ads and banners for marketers to achieve their brand awareness objectives," said Eric Rasmussen, Chair, IAB Search Engine Marketing Subcommittee.
The methodology for this research used a controlled experimental design study with over 10,500 participants recruited from Survey Sample International. In the study, five types of sponsored text-based advertising were tested to determine their impact on brand metrics. Two of the ad types displayed search results on a brand-neutral "Internet Search" website and three were displayed on article pages for a brand-neutral news site or "contextual listing." The text ads were evaluated based on their position among the search results and placement on the article pages. The test group viewed Web pages containing the advertising for specific leading brands participating in the study, and the control group was exposed to public service announcements. Survey participants completed the study online and were unaware that the study concerned advertising.
The study was sponsored by Ask Jeeves, Google, ING, Lycos Search and Overture and was spearheaded by the IAB Search Engine Committee, which is chaired by Tim Armstrong, VP Advertising Sales, Google and David Karnstedt, SVP, Direct Business, Overture. Committee members include: 360 Traffic, Advertising.com, AOL, Ask Jeeves, Beyond ROI, BizRate, Business.com, CNET Networks, Commission Junction, comScore, Conducive, Did-it.com, Digital Grit, Doubleclick, Edmunds, Fathom Online, FindWhat.com, Google, Hitwise, iCrossing, iProspect, Kanoodle, Kontera Technologies, LookSmart, Marchex, Modem Media, Morningstar.com, MSN, Overture, Performics, Prospectiv Direct, Rhino Internet Solutions, Search123, Terra Lycos, United Virtualities, USWeb, Vibrant Media, Wahlstrom Interactive and Yahoo!
The IAB Search and XMOS Road Show will stop in the following additional cities: San Francisco (July 15) Dallas (July 20) New York (July 27) Detroit (August 10) and Chicago (August 12).
Haven't done a follow-up yet, but a bit concerned that contextual ads were mised in on what's called a "search branding" study.
I have no doubt that paid ads help branding -- have heard plenty of marketers report examples of this. But then that begs the question -- should we see some of these ads then sold on an impression basis, rather than cost-per-click?