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Study: Search Listings Better at Branding, Sales Than Banner



9:07 pm on Feb 13, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Search listings perform better than banner ads in branding efforts, according to a new study Tuesday by the NPD Group, a market intelligence firm.

February 13, 2001

  • According the survey, conducted in late December and early January among 2,663 participants, search listings worked better than standard banners or button formats with regard to brand recall, favorable opinion rating and purchase origination.

  • In unaided recall, the top three search listings outperformed banners and tiles by three to one. In addition, more than twice as many participants reported a favorable overall opinion of companies in the top three search positions than those featured in banners and tiles.

  • Participants also reported that more of their online purchases originated from search listings than from banners. According to the findings, fifty-five percent of participants' online purchases originated on sites found through search listings, compared to nine percent from sites originating from banner ads.

    For those of us looking for more ammo about why SEO should get more resources than traditional banner ad buys, this study looks great. I for one will be adding this data to my powerpoint presentations :)

    Since average clickthrough rates on banners have fallen to less than .5%, one of the arguments used to justify them was that they helped in branding efforts. Now, this study confirms what many of us had believed - people have a higher opinion of sites listed at the top of search engines than of sites that advertise on the same pages.

    But are we getting ready to kill the golden goose? I would attribute the study's conclusion to a misconception by general internet users that the highest "quality" sites automatically rise to the top. While there may be some truth to this, the article instead points out that the study results are good news for Goto.com (which paid for the study!) If more consumers realized that the top results can be bought and paid for in the same way as banner ads, I don't think the favorable opinions mentioned in the study would be as high.

    Any other thoughts? (Also if anyone finds additional news references to this study, can you please add them to the thread. thanks.)

  • 10:10 pm on Feb 13, 2001 (gmt 0)

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    WebmasterWorld Senior Member chiyo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

    joined:June 21, 2000
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    I think you've got it absoultely right tedres. With so much spin and spam on the Web people are looking for objective assessment of quality. Everybody knows you buy banner ads, but most people would assume that the top SERP sites have a credibility beyond what they can pay, even though what you can pay is often an indicator of quality itself. That may change, as you say, as people become more savvy about what results are bought. The problem also is that banner advertising is increasingly seen as "back of the bus" advertising.