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Search May Not Be From Branding, But It Will Still Pull Branding Spend

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Hmm. Reading MediaPost today, I came across Graydon Carter Disses Search Ads. That's Vanity Fair Graydon Carter, who seems to think the internet must be best viewed as EITHER a branding or direct marketing medium and appears to come down on the side of direct marketing, since he remarked about not being able to remember a single ad he's seen on Google.

The remark came at a Magazine Publishers Of America event last week, where a panel of editors defended print ads by bashing online, MediaPost reports. Well, you'd expect them to, I suppose -- at least, if they haven't figured out how to tap into online ad spend, as well.

I think the web can do both branding and direct marketing. Search -- meaning keyword-targeted search -- is definitely more of a direct marketing aspect, in my book. Yes, marketers I talk with do find there is branding value to be had along with search. More and more are also turning to search to build brand. But I think those magazine editors are right if they feel people still will be largely looking at other ways to build brands than on the pages of Google.

No, the threat isn't that Google, Yahoo and other search engine result pages will become brand building powerhouses. Instead, the threat the magazine editors and publishers really face is that the direct marketing ads people spend on search can be easily measured, are currently still relatively cheap and for many, can be self-funding. Put money in, and you can get more out in sales.

So where do you get that extra money? You pull from the branded advertising that many feel is poorly measurable and overpriced. In short, brand advertising offline will continue -- but it just might not be seen as valuable as it once was.

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