Is paid search getting too much credit?
I have a theory. I believe that, when measuring ROI on online media, search gets too much credit. Take the example of someone who buys a widget online. This person may be exposed to the widget through a banner ad online. Assuming they don't click on the banner (and not many people do these days), what's the next action they take if they want to find the widget? They go to Google where a smart marketer has paid for the search ad. They click on the paid search ad and the ROI on the paid search ad goes through the roof.
Which worked harder? I'd argue in many cases it's the banner ad. It was the initial exposure and engaged the customer so much so that they searched for the product on Google.
The problem is that when we're optimizing media, most company's optimize just on the ROI of the media placement. In the scenario above, the banner ad might be eliminated and paid search increased since paid search was credited with the sale. Even if you're tracking impressions, once someone has clicked on the paid search term, paid search gets credit.
Is this the reason that so many companies are dumping so much money into paid search? Are they getting rid of their online display adverting because they think it doesn't work as well? It's time to go beyond what seems like the easy answers and look deeper. - Paul Herring