Search Advertising Is Digital’s Big Dog

I don’t always look at bar graphs, but when I do…

I look at bar graphs from Marketing Pilgrim depicting digital ad spending, which is up 18 percent over last year’s first-half revenues of $17 billion, according to IAB.


What story does this bar graph tell?

One big story is how little brand advertising there is in the digital camp. Digital is dominated by search advertising. The rest of the digital ad pie is split between display, video, mobile, classifieds and various lead generation activities.

No question, display ads are improving in quality, and publishers are finding better ways to feature them on the page today. But of all the categories in digital advertising, video is the most brand-focused medium. A brand can offer commercials, episodic content, consumer-generated content and much more in video.

Another big story is how mobile continues to experience a massive rise in spending. Mobile is the fastest growing of all digital advertising types.

The opportunities for brands to grow their digital advertising capabilities (and see greater returns) is enormous. The opportunity for agencies to get digital right and make good money doing so is also at hand.

My contention is digital is so much more than direct marketing and data analysis. Just because you can measure it, is not reason enough to make measurement the principle yardstick of success.

Digital advertising, like any great advertising has to do more than inform and perform. For brands to be built, digital advertising also must move people emotionally. There’s no metric to measure love, but love is real and getting people to love your brand is the ultimate result of any marketing effort.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.