Search and Display — Piece by Piece in 2011

Search marketing has grown into the largest share of digital marketing. This has mainly been due to the fact that it is an auction-based, highly trackable medium with instant gratification and results.

Recent advances in technology have allowed the benefits of display to be more closely aligned to those used in search. A seismic shift happened in 2010 with the attention given to display and Facebook advertising.

Between 2011 and 2014, eMarketer projects online display spending will grow faster than overall online spending — from $9.8 billion to $15.9 billion, with search slightly behind.

Going into 2011, it’s vital that marketers begin to pull together pieces from search and display to build a holistic picture and approach. Here are some notes and tips on search and display for the upcoming year.


SearchPerformance display and search are two pieces of the same jigsaw puzzle and belong together.

Search and display have always had a great relationship. Going back to 2009, numerous studies have shown that after being exposed to display ads, more users have searched for products, leading to an increase of purchases up to 59 percent.

Recent SearchIgnite research has shown that time to convert can decrease by a factor of 5 when search and display campaigns are run in synergy. In 2011, search and display user experiences will begin to converge on SERPs.

  • Tip for 2011: Align yourself more closely to your display peers and utilise cross channel attribution technologies to gather insight on all consumer search and display touch points in the purchase funnel across PPC, SEO, display, social, affiliate, and e-mail. Embrace technologies that do this.

Display — Demand Side Platforms and Real-Time Bidding

Display - Demand Side Platforms and Real-Time BiddingDemand side platforms (DSPs) and the effectiveness of real-time bidding (RTB) allows you to manage display in a way similar to search.

DSPs allow improved performance and ROI for an online display campaign by providing a single interface to manage search and display that connects to the numerous and vast amounts of ad exchanges.

The use of real-time bidding (RTB) to buy display advertising space and optimize display advertising campaigns, combined with search optimization, gives access to all cross channel metrics and future decision making.

Demand side platforms and real-time bidding bring display advertising closer to paid search because they:

  • Are auction-based.
  • Use quantative optimization.
  • Leverage technology and automation.
  • Are objective and accountable.
  • Tip for 2011: In the next few years Google expects 50 percent of all online ad spend will be done via DSPs and RTB. Utilize your search marketing skills, core analytic skill sets across data, bid management, and real-time management and form whole “biddable” media strategies.

Performance Marketing

Performance MarketingDSPs don’t complete the jigsaw puzzle. They’re only valuable if used in conjunction with other forms of performance digital media.

Many marketers in 2010 managed search and display, separately, in silos.

However, many marketers in 2011 are looking to adopt holistic strategies to purchase, manage, and optimize performance media. Doing this allows marketers to further improve search and display performance and benefit from insights from all other media channels — via cross channel attribution analysis.

Managing search and display in a single (performance marketing) platform allows for improved integration of marketing efforts. Performance marketing platforms in 2011 will also be used to help manage non-auction-based media buys with regard to display.

  • Tip for 2011: Ensure that you look beyond just standard DSP integration to track and optimize all display buys, including inventory on exchanges, ad networks, and direct sites. Ensure that you take a holistic approach to purchasing and managing all search, social, and display performance media in one single platform and benefit from enhanced transparency, efficiency, insight, and performance.

Attribution, Optimization, and Retargeting

Attribution, Optimization, and RetargetingOptimization, attribution, and retargeting between display and search help both budgets on an ROI basis.

Most marketers manage search, display, and other digital media in silos, without a centralized technology that appropriately attributes the impact each channel has on performance and conversions. This year will see the end of last click attribution and data becoming the glue that helps piece together the search and display jigsaw.

Data and Inventory are key to the success of DSPs and RTB. How you use data and attribute value is key to managing and optimizing digital spend.

What’s more, how you use data and user scoring is pivotal for audience targeting, retargeting, and search optimization.

What data you factor in as past media performance, as well as audience intent data, allows you better campaign results and return on ad spend. This enables real insight into behavior and allows the retargeting of users across a multitude of platforms.

  • Tip for 2011: Make sure that you quantify search and display performance including views, clicks, and conversions and link your advertising exposure to purchase. Ensure that you track and measure all forms of digital media from search to social media, SEO, e-mail, and affiliate channels. These put a value on all data in the purchase funnel.


Search and Display Puzzle

There has never been a more exciting time for search and display marketers. As the lines between search, social, and display media fade, advertisers, agencies, and marketers face a new kind of challenge — one that search marketers are uniquely suited to help solve.

Join us for SES London 2011, the Leading Search & Social Marketing Event, taking place February 21-25! The conference offers sessions on topics including search engine optimization (SEO), keyword analysis, link building, local, mobile, video, analytics, social media, and more. Register now.

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