Google Searching for Display’s Savior

Is better analysis the solution?

Poor display advertising. Search still dominates digital ad spending, in part because of the strong metrics a search campaign offers. Google wants to change that.

The search giant is attempting to bring better analysis to display, starting with YouTube, where a home page ad has the potential of 60 million impressions per day. In a new study, Google and Compete analyzed more than 300 “masthead” campaigns (those rich media display ads at the top of the video-sharing site’s home page). Google’s in-house studio has tricked out the ads with opt-in features like “click for sound” and “click to continue,” making it easier to gauge engagement. 

The study found that users exposed to the rich media masthead ads were four times more likely to go to a brand’s website, search for it on Google, or watch its video on YouTube. Still, banner ad engagement hovers below 1 percent (rich media display ads are at 3 percent), and display ads are widely reviled.

And now social sites like Twitter and Facebook are offering more alternatives with higher engagement. Says Suzie Reider, national director of display sales for Google, “Display needs to move beyond advertising and into interacting.”