Study shows link between display and search for travel

For some months search specialists have been heralding the benefits of combining search and other forms of online advertising, as well as the importance of a joined-up approach to campaigns.

It seems logical but with little local evidence, i.e. non-US centric, to support it some advertisers have been reluctant to take the plunge.

Research from Microsoft Advertising in conjunction with ComScore, revealed earlier this week at the Internet Advertising Bureau’s Engage for Travel conference, could go some way in changing all that.

Microsoft Advertising EMEA search research manager Nick Drew says: “There has not been a huge amount of research and although there is discussion many of the agencies know it already, some are specialised in display only or search only.”

The research focuses on a combined search and online display campaign to sell short-haul seats from an unnamed major international airline using a combination of display ads across a range of sites and search words across all of the major search engines.

The combination of search and display was 15 times more effective in driving traffic to the airline’s website and had double the impact of just search alone. When it came to driving website impressions search and display together were twice as effective as search alone.

The most significant finding was the impact on purchases. The combined search and display campaign drove more consumers to purchase than conversions from both search and display separately.

Drew says: “The more contact points the more likely you are to get them to convert. If you can provide them with a relevant advertisement then you are going to get them convert, which is what advertisers want.”

Having an advert at every stage of the customer journey has become a maxim, he says.

“There is always a danger that your customer could be hijacked at the last minute, so an ad would help reinforce the message. It’s about not approaching each element individually.”

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