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  • 1. THE EFFECTS OF DISPLAY MEDIAON SEARCH TRAFFICby Kaylan Malm, Manager, Advanced Analyticswith Dax Hamman, Vice President, Display MediaAugust 2009EXECUTIVE SUMMARYAn effective display campaign can increase search traffic by increasing brand awareness, brandrecognition and brand preference. This brand affinity causes users to be more attracted to thebrand website and helps media channels like SEM run more efficiently, boosting ROI. In iCrossing’sevaluation for a global travel client, running a display campaign increased search visits by morethan 13 percent and boosted paid click-throughs by nearly 15 percent.TABLE OF CONTENTS2 Introduction: Marketers are unsure of the effectiveness of display media on other channels Many studies look at display media and SEM only Our analysis looks at SEM, SEO and non-search site traffic2 Methodology: Measuring the effect of display media in the digital marketing mix Dataset includes before, during and after display advertising Study focused on one global travel client3 Findings: Search and site visits increase when combined with display Search visits increase by 13.7 percent Display increases SEM click-throughs4 Conclusion: Results suggest display media increases brand affinity Targeted display campaigns drive efficiency in other media efforts Website design and usability can further boost conversion
  • 2. THE EFFECTS OF DISPLAY MEDIA ON SEARCH TRAFFIC AUGUST 2009INTRODUCTION Marketers are unsure of the effectiveness of display media on other channels The effectiveness of display media is a hot topic within the digital space. iCrossing frequently receives questions from clients who want to understand how display media can help their branding efforts and online performance. These questions include: + How is display media assisting other channels? + How does display media help overall performance and affect ROI? There are a lot of opinions in the industry about how to answer these questions. Some of the research data comes from consumer surveys or ad serving technologies that look only at display media and paid search. We decided to tackle the question internally using actual client data; looking at overall site traffic from search, both SEM (Search Engine Marketing or, paid search) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization or, natural/organic search), as well as non-search site traffic. Consumer research supports that display advertising has a positive effect on overall site performance. Forrester’s research, “A Framework for Multicampaign Attribution Measurement,” (February 2009) reports that for a particular wireless network provider, “Users who clicked on search ads, who were also exposed to display advertising, were 56 percent more likely to purchase.” The most commonly-cited study on this topic is from the Atlas Institute, titled “The Combined Impact of Search and Display Advertising - Why Advertisers Should Measure Across Channels” (July 2006). The study concluded that “Search and display together provide a 22 percent conversion rate lift over search alone.” The Atlas study looked at 11 advertisers that use both Atlas services to track display media and paid search (SEM). We find that their results only address part of the issue, however, since they looked at only display media and SEM. Neither study looked at direct site or other referring URL traffic, but rather focused specifically on search. The Atlas study did not include search engine optimization (SEO) metrics in their definition of “search” and were reporting specifically on search media (e.g. paid search), meaning that the benefit could be much larger than their research suggests. Building on their work as a foundation, the iCrossing research team looked at how adding display advertising to search media and SEO efforts could affect search traffic, and also how it affects non- search traffic. According to available consumer research, display advertising should increase brand awareness and purchase intent. If this is true, we should also see increase in site traffic across other channels as a result of display media being introduced into the media mix, and this became the hypothesis iCrossing set out to test.METHODOLOgY Measuring the effect of display media in the digital marketing mix In order to measure the effect of adding display media into a marketing mix, we looked directly at site traffic. For clients using iCrossing’s proprietary Web tracking and bid management software, Interest2Action and Merchantize, this type of information across channels is reliable and easily accessible. By analyzing daily data for site traffic from paid search, natural search, display media and other non-search channels such as referring URLs and direct loads, iCrossing conducted a series of statistical analyses (ANOVA and GLM) to determine if there was a significant increase in search traffic and non-search traffic at the time when display campaigns were running, and if so, to determine the magnitude of the increase. The most challenging part of this analysis was determining the client source for the data. Instead of using multiple clients running display media and search media campaigns and controlling for their previous efforts, we instead chose to focus our efforts on analyzing a comprehensive dataset from a single client. The client is a global travel related services company with moderate brand awareness. They had not run any display advertising previous to the campaign we analyzed for this study. The client’s goals for display were to increase qualified visitors and increase actions (downloads and requests for more information). Both of which increased with support from display.© ICROSSInG. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 2
  • 3. THE EFFECTS OF DISPLAY MEDIA ON SEARCH TRAFFIC AUGUST 2009 Since the client was also engaging search media and SEO with iCrossing, we were able to ensure all other marketing efforts were controlled. Thus, this dataset provided a unique opportunity to look at the effects of display advertising on the other channels without having to do any benchmarking of previous efforts. One limitation, however, of using this client’s data was that we were unable to look at the effects on brand and non- brand search separately. The dataset includes data from before, during and after display advertising was utilized by both iCrossing and another of the client’s agencies. Being a long-standing iCrossing client, this client allowed for accessibility and understanding of all their historical online marketing efforts. The data was divided into four time periods between January 1, 2008 and February 28, 2009: PERIOD DESCRIPTION Period 1 no display campaigns Period 2 The display campaign run for the client by iCrossing Period 3 The display campaign run for the client by another agency Period 4 no display campaigns We chose to focus on the impact of iCrossing’s display campaign because the client has partnered with iCrossing on SEM and SEO efforts, and also because the display campaign executed by the client’s other agency targeted their site placements differently. We also pulled data from previous years that was divided into the same time periods for year-over-year comparison in order to detect any possible seasonality; however the client experienced no clear seasonality.FINDINgS Search and site visits increase when combined with display IMPACT ON SEARCH VISITS AND UNIqUE VISITS During the iCrossing campaign, both search visits and unique visits had statistically significant increase compared to before and after the iCrossing campaign (Figure 1). For example, search visits increased 13.7 percent during the iCrossing campaign, and decreased 30.8 percent right after the iCrossing campaign. This decrease may be due to economic influences, but these influences were not evaluated as part of this analysis because the client’s seasonality was not well defined. AVERAGE SEARCH VISITS AnD UnIqUE VISITS, PER DAy (FIGURE 1) Period 1: no display campaign; Period 2: iCrossing’s display campaign; Period 3: Other agency’s display campaign; Period 4: no display campaign Data Source: Interest2Action, 01/01/2008-02/28/2009 PERCENT (%) CHANgE IN SEARCH VISITS PERCENT (%) CHANgE IN UNIqUE VISITORS 30% 10% 22.1% 8% 20% 6% 13.7% 4% 10% 2.5% 2% -30.8% -15.0% 0.5% 0% 0% -2% -10% -4% -20% -6% -8% -30% -10% -12% -40% -14% -50% -16% Period 2 over Period 1 Period 3 over Period 2 Period 4 over Period 3 Period 2 over Period 1 Period 3 over Period 2 Period 4 over Period 3© ICROSSInG. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 3
  • 4. THE EFFECTS OF DISPLAY MEDIA ON SEARCH TRAFFIC AUGUST 2009 The findings show that the iCrossing campaign brought additional search visits and new users to the Web site. Online users who viewed the display ads likely remembered the client’s brand after seeing the display ads. This means that they were either more likely to search for the client’s name/brand, or when they searched for relevant content, they were more likely to visit the client’s Web site if it was listed in the search results. Thus when the display campaign was running more frequently, online searchers visited the client’s Web site more frequently, including the first time visitors to the Web site. IMPACT ON PAID SEARCH (SEM) We see significant impact of the iCrossing campaign on SEM click-throughs and cost-per-click (CPC), but not as much on SEM leads and lead conversion (Figure 2). Compared to the client’s other agency, we saw significantly higher click-throughs and a lower CPC, a result of iCrossing’s advanced placement tactics. AVERAGE CLICK-THROUGHS AnD CPC, PER DAy (FIGURE 2) Period 1: no display campaign; Period 2: iCrossing’s display campaign; Period 3: Other agency’s display campaign; Period 4: no display campaign Data Source: Merchantize, 01/01/2008-02/28/2009 PERCENT (%) CHANgE IN CLICk-THROUgHS PERCENT (%) CHANgE IN CPC 40% 20% 16.15% 30% 15% 20.49% 20% 10% 14.87% 10% 5% -30.45% -11.22% -9.15% 0% 0% -10% -5% -20% -10% -30% -15% -40% -20% Period 2 over Period 1 Period 3 over Period 2 Period 4 over Period 3 Period 2 over Period 1 Period 3 over Period 2 Period 4 over Period 3 Click-throughs reached the peak when the iCrossing campaign (Period 2) was running and was statistically significantly greater during iCrossing’s display campaign. Comparing this to the time before and after the iCrossing campaign, the increase is obvious and significant. At the same time, CPC reached the lowest point during the iCrossing campaign (Period 2). The iCrossing campaign assisted the paid search campaign by increasing click- throughs and lowering CPC. Click-throughs increased significantly, showing that display advertising influenced searchers’ online preferences. CPC decreased significantly, indicating that display advertising helped SEM to reach higher cost efficiency by generating more click-throughs - an increase of 14.9 percent in click-throughs was seen when display media started running. The iCrossing display campaign increased the ROI for SEM.CONCLUSION Results suggest display media increases brand affinity The analysis suggests that the campaign has assisted brand awareness, brand recognition and brand preference by attracting online users to visit the Web site. Running a display campaign causes a statistically significant increase in search traffic, specifically search visits, unique visits and SEM click-throughs. CPC, which was lowered during the display campaign, also shows that targeted display campaigns help other media campaigns reach cost efficiency. While display advertising has done its work to boost the interest of online users in the Web site, which may be due to economic factors, media targeting indicates that the client should focus on Web site design and usability to assist converting consumers’ interests to actions. While looking at overall site traffic and traffic by channel is important for this research, we encourage all clients to implement cross-channel reporting whether between paid and natural search, or across all channels. This study© ICROSSInG. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 4
  • 5. THE EFFECTS OF DISPLAY MEDIA ON SEARCH TRAFFIC AUGUST 2009 is the first in a string of research that iCrossing intends to conduct based on the importance of cross-channel tracking. Online users who saw display advertising tend to have higher brand awareness and brand preference, leading to more search traffic, unique visits, and more efficient media spend. Jupiter Research suggests that “only 26 percent of marketers coordinate display buys with search, and even fewer practice true cross-channel management, thereby ignoring the influence of all marketing channels (e.g., contextual, e-mail or affiliate marketing) on a consumer’s search behavior.” (Search and Attribution, Nov. 24, 2008) More companies should realize the importance of cross media optimization. SOURCES Andrews, Evan. “Search and Attribution: Maximizing ROI in a Tight Economy.” Jupiter Research, a Forrester Research Company. November 24, 2008. Lovett, John. “A Framework For Multicampaign Attribution Measurement.” Forrester Research. February 19, 2009. Strong, Esco. “The Combined Impact of Search and Display Advertising- Why Advertisers Should Measure across Channel.” Atlas Institute. July 21, 2006. CONTACT Find out more at Call us toll-free at 866.620.3780 Follow us at Become a fan at© ICROSSInG. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 5