NCDM Speaker: Search Combines DR, Brand

CHICAGO — Though search advertising is powerful, direct marketers are just starting to understand the strength of its interactive nature.

That was the message yesterday from keynote speaker Usama Fayyad, Yahoo chief data officer and senior vice president, at the summer 2005 National Center for Database Marketing Conference here.

Search marketing is important, he said, because it is “active [and] it allows you to do a high level of targeting because it is related to an activity the user is doing.”

But Fayyad also offered next-generation marketing examples that combine brand advertising and direct response solutions such as search marketing. One was a program called Yahoo Impulse 2.0, which delivers graphical ads based on what a person searched for. If someone searched for “cars,” a person might see a graphical ad for a car within 48 hours of that search.

Fayyad also discussed a case study with financial services advertiser Harrisdirect showing that display ads can influence viewers' search behavior. Consumers who saw Harrisdirect's display ads, which appeared in Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Finance and My Yahoo, did 61 percent more searches later on related terms versus a control group who visited the same part of Yahoo's network but didn't see the ads.

Those exposed to the display advertising also clicked on 249 percent more related paid search ads on results pages. And those exposed clicked on 139 percent more links to the Harrisdirect site, including both organic and paid listings, Yahoo said.

Fayyad also said Yahoo tested where the search box appears on its home page. When using Netscape the box appears in the center, and with Internet Explorer it appears on the right. The box in the center had a 2 percent higher search use, “which is huge in our world,” he said. “Just moving it a little bit to the center makes a significant difference in your likelihood to use that search box.”

Tons of patterns like this lurk in data, Fayyad said, and the challenge for marketers is “how do you fish them out, how do you make them come to the surface?”

Tradeoffs exist in doing some of these tests and programs, Fayyad said, led by “preserving the consumer trust. How do you make sure you don't overdo it? This is the stuff that keeps me up at night.”

Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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