Search Beyond Search Engines

Emily Steel writes an interesting piece in the WSJ about search ads expanding beyond search engines:

Even as No. 1 search engine Google’s share of the online ad market — including search ads — continues to grow, marketers have started shifting ad purchases to other digital media, from social-networking sites to mobile phones . . .

Over the past decade, search has evolved into the biggest category of online ad spending in the U.S. Despite the popularity of social-networking sites, social media has had a hard time generating significant ad revenues, because marketers haven’t gotten comfortable showing their ads next to user-created content that could be in dubious taste. Recognizing that concern, sites such as YouTube, Facebook and News Corp.‘s MySpace have created systems that let marketers create and bid on ads through a self-service Web site, similar to the way they buy ads on search engines. News Corp. owns The Wall Street Journal.

Search ads have been syndicated on other sites for a long time but a couple of things struck me about the piece:

  • Advertisers have fled into PPC (“search”) ads because of the perception that they deliver a better ROI
  • Search is both a specific tool/business and a metaphor (e.g., print yellow pages is “search” — directional media)
  • Online there is both “push” and “pull”; this represents the ascendancy of “pull” (but “push” has a big role still to play)

The piece also discusses YouTube now seeing the second-largest search volume of any site after Google (now more than Yahoo!). I had heard that directly from Google before but this is the first time I’ve seen it in print. What this means is much more revenue for YouTube through “sponsored videos” and general AdWords that appear on the site.

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One thing not discussed in the piece is my theory about search becoming a demographic targeting tool and thus a much more complex advertising vehicle when location awareness becomes more precise.

3 Responses to “Search Beyond Search Engines”

  1. Jeff Werner Says:

    It will be interesting to see how search evolves, particularly with YouTube overtaking the #2 spot. The psychology behind a video search is a bit different than the typical web search. Searching for video, people are generally looking for entertainment… things that are amusing or quirky of particular interest to them, seemingly making it a good forum for some of the early advertisers such as the movie “W” or show “Frank TV.” Standard search engine queries are more varied, and often more commercial in nature. Does that work for the typical SMB? Remains to be seen. But outfits like University of Phoenix, Home Depot and apparently even BarackObama.com have been testing the waters.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Yes, it will be interesting to see how YT evolves.

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