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03 Jan 2012

Search vs. Display Advertising in 2012

January 03, 2012PPC Advertising
It’s no surprise that advertisers have been spending more on pay per click campaigns over the last few years. The rise of smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices has created more accessibility to consumers, and it has provided new platforms in which advertisers can be creative with their messaging. In general, the number of people using search engines to obtain information is at an all time high. As you could expect, 2012 is projected to be another huge year for PPC efforts.
 
Perhaps the most important question you should be asking yourself now is whether you should invest your digital advertising dollars into display or search advertising. Both have proved efficient in properly executed campaigns. What it comes down to should depend on how you want to snag the attention of your audience. Some advertisers may find it is most effective to use both search and display advertising simultaneously, while others may opt to try them independently.
 
Recent reports on industry trends point to search advertising as being the main contender in this realm of advertising. Paid search revenue increased from 15 to 18 percent between 2010 and 2011, and up to an astonishing 28 percent during the third quarter of 2011. Though these numbers are significant, agency professionals at Forrester Research say that display advertising is also on the grow, with numbers projected to triple by 2016, and search numbers only doubling in that time.
 
There are many deciding factors that you should keep in mind when deciding where to invest your dollars. For one, you should consider how an average consumer spends their time online. For most consumers, approximately 96 percent of their time spent online is devoted to browsing content related web sites, while the remaining four percent is time spent using search engines. This information definitely shows the exposure that display advertising can offer.
 
On the other hand, the Pew Internet Study shows that 92 percent of people use the Internet for access to search engines, while less than 80 percent use it to get their news or engage in social networking. In this respect, both display advertising and search advertising have value to offer.
 
The advertiser should be mindful of how an ad’s appearance can affect performance. The nature of display advertising provides the opportunity for a variety of visuals and animation, while search advertising is relatively static and comprised of only text and links. If you have a flashy advertising message that you want to broadcast, perhaps display advertising will work well for you. However, if you have a very specific target demographic that you are trying to reach with keywords or phrases, search might give you the better advantage.
 
There’s no denying that search advertising is at the top of its game. ComScore reported that Americans were responsible for 19.5 billion search queries in September of 2011. As more of these queries are sent into cyberspace everyday, search advertising gets the first chance at capturing the attention of the user, and this can happen in a highly targeted manner. In a lot of ways, search advertising is a means to an end and many times it supplies a consumer with exactly the things for which they are looking.
 
For now, there’s not really a clear “winner” in the battle between search and display advertising. Both are important pieces of any marketing campaign, and can be tailored to meet your needs. You may want to consider trying both approaches to see what resonates better with your audience.
 
Only time will tell whether display advertising will grow at the rapid pace it is expected to, but in the meantime it is becoming more specialized and can be a great addition to any campaign. Of course, search is highly reliable and has the data chops to back it up.
 
Get 2012 off to the right start by researching your options and finding the best way to utilize your search or display campaigns. If you’re feeling brave, try both. If nothing else, it will give you valuable insights about your target audience, and in time you might find that one of these options has the appeal your campaign needed all along.