Monitoring the Effect of Display on Search
By: Natalie Costa, Search Account Manager
Because consumers are often exposed to several types of messaging on the road to a conversion, media such as Search and Display shouldn't live in silos. There is a huge opportunity to understand the influence Search and Display have on one another, but is it possible for marketers to connect the dots?
While most marketers realize the need to integrate these two media, the execution is easier said than done. The challenge is that both Search and Display ads offer valuable messaging capabilities, served for different purposes across different stages of the conversion funnel. This makes collecting, matching up and analyzing the data difficult.
How to Connect Search and Display
Both media have their own purpose across the buying cycle. Display ads generally help with brand messaging and attract interest higher in the conversion funnel. They are an excellent way to generate a lot of impressions, but generally offer few direct conversions. Search, on the other hand, can act as both a research tool and a direct conversion from a customer on your website.
Both offer their own purpose and can work together to an even greater effect than the sum of the parts. For instance, without valuable Display impressions, there may be fewer queries via the Search engine. In essence, we live in a world of inefficient buying, and the connection of these two media can help marketers become more efficient and have a better understanding of where to allocate budget.
Monitoring potential lifts in PPC impressions that are directly correlated to a customer being exposed to a Display ad is a powerful way to further prove the value of your marketing mix and create efficient campaigns. Here are some ways to properly set up testing to monitor the effect that the brand message Display ads have on PPC ads.
Create consistency in messaging.
Identify a message that can serve its purpose consistently across channels. A marketing message that translates from a Display ad into a PPC ad will likely improve click through rates, due to message retention. Before starting your Search and Display test, you may want to conduct a series of ad copy tests to find the message that garners click and conversion rate among the target audience.
Be aware of other channels that can affect the test
When scheduling your test, you should take into consideration the rest of your marketing calendar. Email drops, direct mail and media buys can all have a profound effect on your results. If possible, try to schedule your test around a time when there are no other major initiatives beginning or ending.
Set a baseline. Test. Rinse and repeat.
To set a testing scenario appropriately, you'll want to run your PPC ads for no less than two weeks. This will help you establish your baseline volume and conversion rate. It is important to ensure you collect enough data to account for statistical errors. The amount of time needed also highly depends on volume. But in general, the longer the time frame you allot for your testing, the more meaningful your results should be. For a quicker testing timeframe scenario, budgets should be increased to generate a large enough sample size. Once you've successfully established your baseline, incorporate your Display advertising buy for another time period equal to your baseline stage.
After this period is over, you're finished, right? Hold that thought. In order to truly measure the test, it's crucial to conduct either hold out groups, A/B split or location targeting. This will allow you to monitor any measurable differences in queries and conversions when Display is not running in tandem with PPC ads, compared to when both are running in tandem.
Identify ebbs and flows in overall impressions and Search queries, as well as specifically with branded queries. This can help make the case for the effectiveness of Search and Display working hand in hand.
Despite Display not offering a significant amount of conversions in a direct conversion path, it is a media that offers powerful effectiveness when paired with Search advertising. While results will vary, a major online retailer, and IMPAQT client, recently identified a 33% lift in relevant generic Searches over their testing time period. Additionally, overall site visitations reflected a 28% increase, over a three month testing period. In 2011, Google also conducted a test with leading cell phone manufacturer, and found that Display drove a 120% lift in brand Searches.