"Marketers are spending billions on search engine marketing, primarily as a direct response mechanism," David Sable, vice chairman-COO of Wunderman, stated, adding, "We think it's time to better understand how search builds brands differently than traditional media. The connection between brand-building and search marketing is at best, spotty and the research we will conduct may help shed light on how brands can tap into search as a brand and market share builder."
Sable said the initiative is being driven by WPP's desire to understand the "next generation of search engine marketing," citing Microsoft's new Bing search engine, and how it will influence consumers and brands alike. The study will look specifically at the impact search is having on WPP's "blue chip" clients and consumers worldwide, and initial findings are expected to be released during a presentation at Advertising Week in September in New York.
Details of the collaboration with Microsoft were not disclosed, but the companies said the research is intended to reveal:
* The correlation between brand awareness and search efficacy
* How search engines are changing consumer behavior
* How social marketing impacts the search for brands
* The connections between paid search and brand development