Display’s The Thing

First things first. Let me start by confessing that I run a search-oriented digital ad business. Before you think that this is just another flogging of search retargeting, indulge me one sentence. I’m here to tell you that the hottest area of Internet advertising is display ads.

Really. I know it from three very credible sources. First, our own business. More of our clients are collecting data showing the performance impact when customers who search for keywords are then met with display ads; this is a huge growth area.

Second, the stat people tell me this is true. In a 2011 study, Forrester forecasts that search spending will shift to display. The report claims that as marketers face high PPC for paid search, they will turn to biddable display media for more effective and cost-efficient targeting. According to eMarketer, display advertising spend will surpass search advertising by 2015; and according to the Forrester study mentioned above, display will account for 36% of interactive spend in five years.

My third source, surprisingly enough, is Google.  Google, the company that has been all about keyword search and AdWords, is now focused on display ads and mobile search. I don’t believe mobile will scale quickly enough to be a search retargeting business this year. That’s another story. Google’s reliance on display ads for growth speaks volumes.

Don’t Count YouTube Out

According to SeekingAlpha’s most recent Google earnings analysis, “Because of the gradual slowdown in desktop search, display ads and mobile search are expected to be key drivers for Google’s future growth.” Most analysts expect YouTube to be a key factor.

Let’s not forget here that the user numbers for YouTube still rival Facebook, lest you think that social media is the display engine for this year. It has over 800 million unique visitors per month, which is as same as Facebook. In terms of monthly search, YouTube’s volume is 10 times that of Facebook. Google’s display revenue will exceed $1 billion for the 2011 fiscal year, and I think it will top $2 billion for the 2012 fiscal year, as well.

Now, what does all this mean for publishers, brand marketers and agencies? It means that search and display has an intersection that can be extremely profitable. While you’re figuring out the world of devices and social media, display ads are going to be served up at an ever-increasing level.

I’m going to argue that search retargeting represents that intersection of display and search. If a user searches for a keyword, and is then served a display ad, there’s two tracks of data that retargeting can address. If a user clicks on a display ad and doesn’t convert, now there’s another information trail to follow.

The power of display and search is formidable. One does not need to replace the other. They can live together quite nicely. Google told me so.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Display Advertising | Display Advertising | Display Advertising Column


About The Author: is chief executive officer at search retargeting leader Magnetic charged with driving overall company expansion and building out Magnetic’s search retargeting infrastructure.

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  • http://www.eBizROI.com Rick Noel, eBiz ROI, Inc.

    According to the latest IAB (H1 2011) numbers, search revenue accounted for 49% of year-to-date revenues, up from the 47% reported in the first half of 2010. Display advertising showed solid growth, accounting for 37% of year-to-date revenue, up from 36% in 2010. Digital Video, a component of Display advertising, increased 42% from 2010 to 2011 and now represents 6% of overall year-todate revenues. I agree YouTube will be a growth area for Google which is not suprising given Google’s investment in YouTube and that fact that it dominates online video consumption by a huge margin. The key is to track and understand the conversion attribution contributions of search relative to display and the relationships between them.

  • http://twitter.com/pretarget Pretarget

    Numerous studies from Comscore, ValueClick, MediaMind, iCrossing, iProspect and Microsoft over the past few years all point to one fact: people who SEE an ad don’t click it, they search for it. But who get’s all the credit: Google, because search is the last thing most people do before they buy. Tools to measure and optimize this are rare, but as pointed out, Google’s growth in display underscores the reality of the digital media mix. And Google wants to own it all – not just search.

  • http://twitter.com/SimplifiCRO James Moore

    In fact, a well executed mix of display campaigns with site retargeting, keyword level search retargeting, contextual and more can impact an entire marketing plan positively.  Direct conversions is one thing; however companies who invest in the attribution tools to see a full media mix show that display campaigns increase organic returns, increase branded search and more.  My point is that social, search and most every form of digital media is positively receiving lift when display is in the mix.   AB test and attribution tools are vetting this out and leading edge media buyers are shifting big dollars and measuring closely.  By an ironic twist of fate; with the growth of real time bidding and keyword data in display it is the search marketers who may become the display experts of tomorrow as their data driven and segmenting approach translates nicely into some of the new trends in buying and targeting display media.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7GYHHY3H3ZL2JR2REPY5MXAX2I Matt

    I agree.  Display is only growing these days because of improved attribution reports coming from web analytics solutions.  Advertisers are finally realizing that display is very valuable at driving conversions for other campaigns, such as search.  Display is finally getting the credit it deserves.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7GYHHY3H3ZL2JR2REPY5MXAX2I Matt

    Yahoo was touting this about 4.5 years ago.  I guess advertisers just weren’t ready to listen!


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