Story of the Week: 10 Eye-Opening Stats and Facts About Online Display Advertising


Digiday published a snarky list of facts about online display advertising the other day. It turns out you’re more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad. Interesting. But what’s more relevant to marketers is that you don’t have to click on a banner ad for it to be effective. For instance, found that you are 80% more likely to type a brand’s name into a search box and more than 30% more likely to convert after seeing an online display ad.

Those are just two reasons why online display advertising is poised to grow to $28 billion by 2017, according to Forrester Research. And here are 10 more proof points testifying to the health, vibrancy and unrivaled flexibility of online display:

  1. Advertising spending on ad exchanges increased by 49% last year. (Standard Media Index)
  2. Display ads boost search conversion: For each dollar invested in display and search in tandem, there is a return of $1.24 for display and $1.75 for search ads. (Harvard Business School Working Knowledge)
  3. When search ads were paired with display ads, the lift in sales is 119%, (comScore)
  4. Shifting 15% of a TV ad budget to digital advertising resulted in a 6.2% increase in reach. (IAB)
  5. 85% of respondents said online display advertising returned average to good ROI, which meant it outperformed content marketing, webinars, mobile, social media and video advertising. (econsultancy)
  6. Coca-Cola said that online display were 90% as effective as TV ads –- while search was only 50% as effective as TV. (AdAge)
  7. An estimated $130 million to $200 million on micro-targeted online advertising was spent during the 2012 presidential campaign. (IAB)
  8. Samsung’s Facebook ad campaign for its Galaxy S3 phone delivered a 13-times return on its $10 million investment. (CNET)
  9. 64% of advertisers surveyed said they planned to boost their social media ad budgets this year. (Vizu/Digiday)
  10. The number of video RTB global bid requests increased 596% in 2012. (SpotXchange)

Can We Please Stop Hyping Social as the Marketing Messiah?

Source: , March 25, 2013

If tech media coverage frequency were to serve as a barometer of the relative utility of the digital channels available to marketers, one could be forgiven for concluding that search’s value pales in comparison to the much-covered social media.

An analysis of “SEO” vs. “social media” coverage on the top two major tech blogs, while not the most scientific study ever done, shows that social media was covered 4x more frequently on TechCrunch and 58x more frequently on Mashable.


This matters because, as any first year poly-sci. student knows, media coverage impacts public opinion. In this case, that means impacting marketer’s organizational decision-making such as budget and resource investment. And, as many a frustrated SEO practitioner knows, even if youyourself have things straight, the VP or CMO at the top of the food chain who likely controls the purse strings is often the most susceptible to the tech media’s influence.

Media Saturation of Social Dominates Mindshare and Budgets

To add to the “how much” coverage factor, the “what is being said” is another variable influencing public opinion. To a certain extent, the tech media has touted social media as a magic bullet, promising it will change the very fabric of how we market online. When it comes to online retail in particular, we have been told that social will change the way people shop, presumably because recommendations from friends carry more weight than results from a search engine.

Given these dual factors putting downward pressure on public opinion, now is a good time to check in on where social should, in fact, be positioned in the marketer’s toolbox.

We know that measurement of the current traffic social media drives to websites isn’t a definitive indicator about its future utility. But it gives us a finger-in-the-wind check as to where social stands relative to other drivers of inbound traffic.

With that, let’s look at some data.

Data: Social Drives Far Less Traffic than Search

First, from Adobe’s analysis of “…billions of visits from 500 retail websites during the holiday season”: only 2 percent of visits come from social, while 34 percent come from search:


And, a study from Monetate shows similar findings with social hovering at around 2 percent:


It would seem clear, therefore, that from a traffic perspective, social is driving only a small percentage of visits to retailers. A Conductor study suggested that may be in part because users overwhelmingly turn to search as a discovery platform versus social when it comes to online shopping.


People Use Search and Social Differently

Jay Taylor wrote an article on Search Engine Watch last month titled “5 Reasons SMBs Should Focus on Search, Not Social for Customer Acquisition“. He made a number of good points about re-positioning social when it comes to customer acquisition.

But he must have struck one heck of a cord with one particular aspect of his observations on social because I noticed a phenomenon I had never seen before on my Twitter stream. No less than five people I follow tweeted a link to his article with the same article snippet (or close variation) preceding the link: “People use social media to, well, socialize. People use search engines when they want to find something.”

Facebook and Twitter are hoping to change that, particularly when it comes to commerce (see:Facebook Graph Search and Twitter enabling instant commerce with American Express), but for now the data says that Taylor is right.

In the survey mentioned earlier, users showed that they want to use social for, well, socializing, while turning to search universally across all information retrieval scenarios:

Information Retrieval Frequency

Let’s Reposition Social Where it Belongs

There’s no question that social has a place in the modern marketer’s toolbox, both as a brand development and customer service listening platform. But can we agree that it’s time we return it, at least for now, where it rightly belongs: a place for socializing.

1 in 4 SMB Websites Won’t Turn Up in Online Searches

Source: March 15, 2013 by MarketingCharts staff


26.4% of SMBs cannot be found in online searches because their websites earn a Google Page Rank of zero or have no Google Page Rank,finds vSplash in an audit of 3.9 million US SMB websites. The audit unearthed a series of deficiencies, which the researchers believe translate into a $24.3 billion revenue opportunity for digital media and marketing solutions providers. That’s despite a recent report suggesting that 1 in 2 SMB online marketing service dollars are already being spent on web presence. (For that study, from Borrell Associates, web presence represented $202 billion in spending in 2012, and included such services as website design and management, hosting, and social media management.)

A separate study recently issued by Constant Contact found other discoverability issues with small businesses: half admitted never updating their online listings, and the same proportion had seen inaccurate listings.

Meanwhile, other deficiencies cited by the vSplash study include:

  • 94.5% of SMB websites not being mobile optimized;
  • 94.6% lacking a Twitter widget on their home page, and 91.2% without a Facebook widget;
  • 94.6% lacking an e-commerce shopping cart;
  • 93.7% without a contact email address on the home page; and
  • 49.4% without a phone number on the home page.

Google AdWords New Enhanced Campaigns Connect Ads With Multi-Device Consumers

Source: , February 6, 2013

Google today announced an upgrade to AdWords called Enhanced Campaigns that will allow advertisers to target consumers more efficiently with ads based on context like location, device type, and time of the day, in a single campaign.

Enhanced Campaigns have three main features:

  • Campaign and budget management: An advertiser with a local presence could increase bids based on context, such as the location of the user or to adjust for device (e.g., “if this query is from mobile device, increase bid by 10%”). Bid adjustments will be found in the campaigns settings tab.
  • Ads Based on Context: Advertisers will be able to differentiate mobile preferred creative where an ad would appear if the query is from a mobile device. This would take into consideration the capabilities of the device – such as whether the device can download apps or make phone calls. Mobile preferred creative will be a type of ad selection in AdWords.
  • New conversion types: This will integrate phone calls from click-to-call and app downloads in AdWords reports. It will be easier to see the full value of campaigns across actions and from new platforms. Phone calls and app downloads will be additional columns as a conversion in reporting.

Here’s a look at some of the new Enhanced Campaign options that will be available in the settings tab:

AdWords Bid Adjustment Location


Google’s motivation for this upgrade was the growing realization that we live in a constantly connected world.

“As consumers, we reach out to the device closest to us to find the information we need” said Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google, “Advertisers need to be present and relevant across the growing number and wide range of devices.”


In the constantly connected world, consumers’ cross-platform behavior and search intent has changed over time:

  • Consumers use multiple devices to accomplish tasks: 90 percent move sequentially between screens.
  • Consumers want results that are more relevant across multiple screens and appropriate to the their location and time of day.
  • Actions of the consumers will vary depending on the context, for example a person on the go is likely to respond differently to an ad than someone at a desktop computer.

Signals like location, time of day, and the capabilities of the device people are using have become increasingly important in showing them the right ad. These signals create great opportunities for businesses, but can also make marketing more complex and time-consuming. Since search and context defines user intent in the new world, Enhanced Campaigns address how advertisers can better reach them.

Overall, the enhancement is designed to make AdWords much easier to target users and manage the complex settings in a single campaign.

Enhanced campaigns will roll out to advertisers as an option over the next few weeks, and with upgrades to all campaigns in mid-2013.