Using a search engine today to find information is almost second nature for most of us. We use it to answer a question or reach a website to buy something. We also use it to travel from one location to another. We use search engines to consume news and information of all kinds.
Search advertising has been derived from the integral convenience of search engines – a buyer is offered links that are either an exact match or a near match to their request and are designed to quickly direct the buyer to specific products and services.
Now, online display advertising is a different story. People visit websites for looking up information, entertainment, playing games, sending emails and interacting with other people; not to click on ads that send them elsewhere.
So now the moot question is – Is a click a correct measure to assess the effectiveness of a display ad?
The journey for a search ad starts from clicking it and finishes at a conversion – buying a product/ service, enquiring about a service, downloading marketing brochures, locating a store or restaurant. This concept is ingrained in people and widely accepted today. Buyers who use a search engine are likely to click on an ad and will do so if they think that the link has the potential to deliver to their need.
Marketing professionals can simply evaluate the potential of numerous search phrases to drive buyers to the page where they will complete a purchase decision. Since a search ad relates to an intent stated by the person doing the search, click-through rates are a good indicator for conversion, and cost per click (CPC) is a reliable guide for buying search ads.
Now when we talk about display experience, it is not the same as search experience for buyers. The influence of a display ad is more nuanced than that of a search ad. Search behaviour is associated with an obvious and instant need. On the contrary, when a buyer is viewing other varieties of online content he/ she has reached at his/ her journey’s finish line. In display ads, people are seldom surfing with a buyer’s mindset at the time a marketer places an ad in front of them.
Simply put – Search ads are Pull Marketing and Online Display ads are Push Marketing.
We don’t expect a buyer to click on an ad.
What does it mean? If a marketer optimises a campaign for click conversions only, then he/ she is optimising to influence the people who clicked through. If he/ she optimise a campaign for all conversions, then they are optimising for all the people – both viewers and clickers combined – who will eventually go to the website and purchase a product/ service.