When is Search Advertising Most Effective?
Marketers are increasingly moving away from banner advertisements, in favour of search advertisements on major platforms like Google, Facebook and Bing.
These companies track the people who visit them, what they are interested in and what their online browsing habits are. In theory, search ads are far more effective than banner ads, as they put companies who are selling a product in front of consumers who are buying that product.
But are search ads more effective than banner ads? Recent research has cast doubt on this.
In 2015, eBay stopped running search ads and
went bankrupt nothing happened. The company saw no difference in search traffic.
So does search advertising actually do anything?
After the study from eBay was released, Harvard Business School assistant professor Michael Luca set out to find the answer. He started researching the search ads ran by Yelp, and was eventually contacted by the company, who asked him to come in-house to study how effective the companies advertising packages actually were.
Over 18,000 restaurants were studies. Half received free advertising of their business (without their knowledge) while the other half did not. Over the three months of the study they found that:
- The restaurants who had the ads running received 25% more web traffic than the restaurants who did not have ads running.
- Furthermore, they received 18% more requests for directions, and 13% more phone calls.
Why wasn't search advertising effective for eBay?
Most of the restaurants in the study were not household names, whereas most people know of eBay. These ads propelled these companies to the top of the listings, creating valuable brand awareness and exposure for them.
When search advertising is most effective.
From the studies conducted, search engine marketing has been shown to be the most effective when they alert consumers to something they weren't already aware of. If your business is struggling to get it's first few customers, or is about to enter a new market or release a new product, then Search Ads are definitely worth investigating.