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SearchIgnite DSP Makes Display Advertising More Like Paid Search

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Most companies manage their display advertising and search marketing activities in 'silos', having separate teams and platforms to manage it all. This week, SearchIgnite have enhanced their DSP to change all that, allowing marketers to manage, optimize and attribute more digital media than ever before from a single platform.

"Media planners working with display today want to take advantage of the optimization efficiencies gained from innovations first pioneered by search marketers", said Roger Barnette, CEO of SearchIgnite. "Advances in display such as real-time bidding and attribution allow advertisers to stay competitive and achieve maximum ROI. Our expanded platform harnesses these advancements to deliver better return and a more holistic view of media performance so marketers can easily see how and where to allocate their media dollars."

Ne'er the Twain Shall Meet
One need not look back very far into their own online marketing career to recall a time when search and display marketing disciplines seemed anathema to the other. They involved different skills, tactics and ideologies. Where display focussed on contextual engagements and creative interruptions, search focussed on direct engagements and measurable purchase intent.

Whilst display budgets remain huge, the two disciplines still battle for attention in the boardroom and search marketers win out with essentially better, more actionable, metrics at their disposal. However, with the biggest search company in the world, Google, announcing $2.5bn in display revenues, search marketers are increasingly recognizing the importance of understanding how display impacts search campaigns, in terms of driving traffic, increasing click-through rates (CTR) and delivering conversion. Similarly, after a decade of paid search, advances in display inventory management, such as real time bidding and site/search retargeting, is making the media planners job not unlike that of a PPC manager. Now, both disciplines need to know how search impacts display and how many touch points a customer makes via all the different channels before making a purchase.

Previously, the tools at the disposal of each of these online marketing roles have been limited to a subset of the overall online marketing strategy causing companies to organize their teams into silos. Whilst search marketers have long enjoyed the ability to cross reference data across different paid search channels via bid management platforms; many display advertisers have had to contend with different tools to manage key components of their campaigns. For example, direct site buys of display advertising on specific sites is managed by one system, whereas biddable media buys on ad networks and exchanges are managed by another.

Weeding Vs Seeding
The impact of this approach is that knowledge sharing and insight across different channels is restricted and more efficient strategic approaches are missed. A typical issue is that what is known as the 'last click' attribution methodology, where the last touch point in a customer journey is given the credit for the conversion. More often than not this is search. Another typical problem is duplication, where two different types of media buys are given credit for the same conversion.

The source of these issues is that web user's browsing behavior is essentially fragmented and customer touch points with any brand or product are scattered across multiple online media types. To illustrate with a bricks and mortar analogy, the 'last click' attribution model is a bit like patting the customer service team on the back every time a sale is made, but ignoring all the efforts of the product designers, manufacturers, brand managers and marketers who got the product into existence and into the public eye in the first place. Should these teams not also get credit? And if they should, then perhaps the first touchpoint of a digital marketing campaign should also get creditted, rather than the last?

In many ways, all the different media types deserve credit for the conversion but to attribute them equally, or load them too heavily to either end of the customer journey, makes little sense. Dollars shifted from search to display may generate more exposure but make your product harder to find, whilst dollars shifted from display to search may seem more efficient but actually sacrifices demand. These same nuances may exist within display advertising strategies, but currently market friction is created by having two systems (and probably teams) to compare data from a ad network/exchange against a direct site buy.

SearchIgnite's latest enhancements mean that both biddable media and direct site buys can be monitored and measured within the same platform. Previously DSPs concentrated on biddable display inventory only, which only accounts for 20-30% of display activity. Furthermore this data is combined with SEO and paid search attribution metrics so that 90% of online marketing campaign activity can be compared from one system. A proprietary algorithm developed by SearchIgnite means that attribution and spend can be weighted by channel and used to predict or estimate the impact of changing variables across every channel. It's a bit like a sound board or mixing desk for online marketing.

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