The race between online display advertising and paid search ads to acquire ad dollars (and advertiser attention) is heating up. “A new report”:http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3550221 from JupiterResearch is predicting that paid search revenues will “outpace” display advertising by 2010.
With its pay-for-performance model and reliability where delivering a positive return on investment is concerned, we all knew search engine advertising was going to be huge. There’s some concern, however, that advertisers are relying too heavily on their paid search campaigns. The pay-per-search industry (as it was once known) got its start supporting display campaigns, after all; if banner placements were the jabs thrown at a fellow boxer for show, then the paid search placements were the uppercut that ensured a knockout performance. Increasingly, though, advertisers are forgoing display ads, choosing instead to rely almost entirely on the more dependable search variety. Is this a wise decision?
I think it all comes down to your campaign objectives and the nature of your product or service. Display ads are still primarily used for branding and educational campaigns, while search placements are used to generate site traffic. Given that most advertisers would name both branding and site traffic as campaign goals, each has its place. Unless you’re one of those rare advertisers that cares little about establishing his brand and would sooner focus on securing sales, you’ll want to round out your campaign with some quality display ads.
One of the keys to developing a successful campaign is determining the ideal mix of formats. Unfortunately, no sweeping guide to format and placement ratios exists (if you know of one, I’d love to see it!). As always, look to your past campaigns and site and placement statistics to help steer your decisions. Paid search does have a lot to offer, but certainly not forsaking everything else. You need a little more than that to get your technical knockout.