More Evidence Supports Display-Search Approach

NEW YORK Advertisers can greatly increase the conversion of their search campaigns by pairing it with graphical branding ads, according to a new study.

The Atlas Institute, part of Internet ad company aQuantive, found users exposed to search and display advertising convert 22 percent more than those who only see search ads. Of its sample, 44 percent of searchers who clicked on text ads had seen a display unit from the advertiser.

The study was based on 10.8 million ad impressions and 2.5 million search clicks from 1.8 million users, using data collected from 11 advertisers that use aQuantive’s Atlas ad technology. Atlas only measure clicks on paid search results, not algorithmic listings.

The study backs up research done by Yahoo that has found similar synergies. Research completed in May 2005 found users shown Harrisdirect display ads conducted 61 percent more searches relating to financial services. Those shown display ads also clicked on 249 percent more paid search listings and 139 percent more Harrisdirect search listings, both paid and unpaid.

“People are very much waking up to the fact that consumers don’t see media in different buckets,” said Esco Strong, a research analyst at Atlas Institute. “They may interact with several forms of advertising in the same day.”

Of the 11 advertisers, which included the financial-services, travel and lead-generation industries, eight saw higher conversion rates from users shown brand ads, with one getting a 65 percent bump. Most advertisers also saw more conversions from searchers shown brand ads three or four times, rather than one or two. When shown ads more than four times, however, conversion rates generally fell.

Atlas found not only a higher overall conversion rate from those who had seen display ads but also a higher click-to-conversion rate, meaning they were more likely to purchase or register if they clicked.