Radio spots or TV advertising have been considered the go-to avenue for businesses to increase their brand awareness. Traditionally, search advertising brings its value through clicks, impressions, and conversions. However, a recent study by Google brings new insights into the effectiveness of search ads. The results may surprise you.
In 2013 Google ran over 60 search experiments to understand how search ads can affect brand awareness. The subjects of the study consisted of 800 US consumers who participated in the simulated search scenario. The participants were placed into either the control group who were shown a search engine results page (SERP) or the the experimental group who were shown a Test SERP spotlighting one of 12 categories: apparel and durables, auto, B2B, classified and local, consumer packaged goods, education, financial services, healthcare, media and entertainment, retail, tech, and travel.
Participants were asked to perform a search for a specific category keyword (for example, “used cars” or “bad credit loan”) on their desktop. They were then shown either the actual SERP or a Test SERP. Those in the Test SERP group would see the test brand’s search ad present at the top of the search results page.
According to the study results, search ads do in fact have a positive impact on brand awareness. When study participants were asked what was top of mind about a specific category, Google found the following results:
• 14.2% in the Test SERP group named the test brand
• 8.2% in the control group also named the same brand
Overall, there is a 6.6% increase in brand awareness when in the top search positions. Each of the categories studies got slightly different results in brand awareness increases. Most notably, the auto category saw a 9% lift in top-of-mind brand awareness.
If you’re not convinced on the benefits of search advertising, then the results of this study should nudge you in the direction to invest in search ads. If increasing brand awareness is your goal then search ads are a much more cost effective solution than radio spots or TV commercials.
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