How Display Advertising Influences Search Marketing: A Closer Look at Attribution

How Display Advertising Influences Search Marketing: A Closer Look at Attribution

How Display Advertising Influences Search Marketing: A Closer Look at Attribution

While the multiple tools you use to market your auto dealership are closely interrelated, it’s less clear the impact each tactic has upon the others and what implications this means for your business. Of course, you can always connect the dots when a customer tells you they’re purchasing a car because they saw your TV ad. However, you need to take a look at your core metrics much more carefully when you want to determine how display ads influence search marketing for your company.

A recent report conducted by Harvard Business School explored the implications of the relationship between display ads and search marketing, and delved deep into the concept known as attribution. This process analyzes user actions to look at the chain of events that result in a desired action; in the case of your dealership, the goal is a car purchase. The study’s findings were significant.

Display Ads Have a Critical Impact on Search Marketing

When you’re dedicating sizeable marketing dollars to an online marketing campaign, you need to know how each method is performing and determine the best ways to make each more cost-effective. The HBS study found that display ads were effective in increasing search traffic, as well as more clicks on search results and more product purchases. Here, the phenomenon of attribution demonstrated how display ads influence search marketing: there is a direct correlation between dynamic display marketing and the increase in search volume, click through rate, and sales conversions.

The Impact of Display Ads on Search Activity Occurs Over Time

However, if you’re expecting an overnight increase in sales due to attribution and the impact of display ads on searching inquiries, you’re not giving the tool enough time to work as it is intended. The fact is that display ads take approximately two weeks before you’ll see a boost in search inquiries and you will continue to see improvements over an extended period. Still, there is much more time involved with seeing results from SEO methods, attracting social media followers and generating blog traffic. Therefore, display ads should be considered a high priority when deciding where to dedicate your online marketing budget.

Boosts in Search Metrics Result from Sustained Display ActivityWhile display ads do affect search marketing over time, that doesn’t mean you place a few and expect to see results. It’s only after a couple weeks of consistent, sustained display ad placement that an increase in search activity will take place. If you want to see how display ads influence search marketing, issuing several display ads in a burst is unlikely to cause the boost in click through rate that the HBS reports. In fact when we run display campaigns we often recommend a minimum of 3 months to see the full impact.

Display Ads Affect Search Marketing, Not the Other Way Around

It would be excellent news to find that display ads and search activity help each other out, but the contrary is true: while display ads do impact searches, your dealership will not see increases in display ads click through due to and increase in search ads. Your potential customers are drawn to display ads, though they may not conduct a search inquiry until later; however, conducting a search that prompts certain display ads will not necessarily increase traffic.

You Need to Look Beyond Clicks per Acquisition

Many companies monitor their CPA because attribution suggests that measuring this type of online activity will tell them how well their online marketing approach is performing. There are problems with using CPA to justify increasing expenditures due to this metric, mainly because it doesn’t provide an accurate reflection on achievement. In fact, spending too much time with CPA analytics doesn’t properly account for attribution; it doesn’t give you an accurate metric on how an increase in search traffic may be the result of a user seeing a display ad and buying later. You can better appreciate how display ads influence search marketing if you assess the dynamic effects of display ads. Take advantage of attribution effects by examining the period of time between the first impression and the boost in searches.

Typically attribution modeling is quite complex and reserved only for larger brands due to cost. At Speed Shift Media we can run attribution reports on all of our inventory display campaigns and Dynamic Display Ads.