What is the branding value of a search impression? While most search folks are trampling over and pushing aside impression data to get to the almighty click and conversion data, I ponder the question: Is there a significant branding importance associated with a search text impression?
When we think of branding within Internet marketing, we typically think of Page Takeovers, Interstitials, Page Skins, and a variety of other intimidating sounding nomenclatures.
In fact, some industry-ers scoff at the notion that search (or any text ad) could have any significant value when it comes to branding or awareness. And because the cost of impression is on a per click basis, some search planners /agencies have gone as far as removing impression data from client reporting altogether.
In essence they are relegating impressions as simply an internal way to measure and adjust performance; a means to determine whether or not a keyword or creative is effective. There’s got to be something more to an impression if Contextual pushers are using the “volume of impressions of a text ad” angle as one of their biggest selling points.
Couldn’t a text ad that displayed sale information to a user making a relevant query for a retailer result in their making a purchase offline? Couldn’t a person that searched for a television show name (or any general TV schedule type query) and that viewed a text ad in which a TV show’s name and date day & time of airing is written out in plain text, in essence get what they need from that experience without clicking, and as a result tune in to that show?
Google & Yahoo say “yes”.
Google conducted a study recently to determine the extent to which search ads drive TV tune-in (what you could call a reverse call to action.) What they found was in fact search does do so, through a significant branding impact:
- Paid search increases TV network association: Search Ads resulted in a 26% lift in correct association of networks with new TV shows, and a 17% lift in association with existing TV shows
- Paid Search ads increase TV show awareness: Search Advertising resulted in a 285% lift in awareness of new TV shows, and a 63% lift in awareness of existing TV shows
- Paid search increases TV tune-in: Search Advertising resulted in a 25% lift in likelihood to tune in to new shows and a 30% lift in likelihood to tune in to existing shows
Similarly Yahoo! released a study on the impact of the internet on TV brands, fielded from September through December 2007. What they found also helps make the case for awareness through search:
- The majority (78%) of viewers who go online for TV information use online search engines to find what they’re looking for. TV watchers who use online search are highly engaged in TV shows and view television as primary source of entertainment.
In essence while search is not the biggest stick in the typical pack of branding tactics, it might be getting a raw deal by being underrated by many marketers.