Monday, February 4, 2008

Grabbing Those Valuable Search Minutes

FEBRUARY 4, 2008

Paid search continues to attract a large proportion of US online ad spending.

How much do advertisers spend for paid search relative to the audience for those ads?

Viewed by the people marketers look to reach, the 40% share for paid search can appear outlandish. Relative to the time people spend using search engines, companies put more into paid search ads compared to display ads on content sites.

That gap is greater for paid search than nearly any other form of advertising.

According to ongoing research from the Online Publishers Association and Nielsen//NetRatings, US Internet users in 2007 will spend less than 5% of their online time using search versus nearly 50% of their time on content sites.

Yet in 2007, paid search advertisers spent $5.07 per hour of consumer search usage, compared with only 49 cents per hour spent for display advertising for the time users spent on content sites.

"When search is effective, people find what they need and go away, and that greatly reduces the time spent on sites," said David Hallerman, senior analyst at eMarketer. "But when content is effective, people want to stick around."

Nevertheless, a 10:1 ratio between search and display dollars points to the importance of Internet search engine users in contrast to their brief time spent searching.

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