"Search continues to be an important part of the digital marketing mix for our clients," Kingdon told analysts and reporters on a conference call Monday. He added that search efforts often are integrated into broader online campaigns.
In addition to purchasing keywords on Google and Yahoo, marketers also are buying pay-per-click ads on "secondary" and "niche" search engines, like Ask.com, Kanoodle and LookSmart, Kingdon said.
Overall, search marketing accounted for about 40 percent of all online ad dollars in the first half of last year, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. But many of the marketers purchasing keywords are thought to be small players who don't use large digital agencies such as Organic, whose client roster includes car company DaimlerChrysler, the telecom Sprint and department store Macy's.
Kingdon also said that ad executives are intrigued by the potential of purchasing inventory on popular social networking sites. "These sites have tremendous momentum in a very, very short period of time," he said. "Social networks are some of the hottest properties on the Web today."
But, he added, social networking sites require media executives to re-examine ideas about online ad formats. "Advertising is new in a social networking context, so everything is new," he said. For instance, home page takeovers--which might work well on the large portals--don't necessarily make sense on sites like MySpace.com.
Kingdon also told conference call participants that he expected marketers would continue to expect detailed information about how their online campaigns performed. "As more money flows into the digital media choices, advertisers are looking for accountability from their marketers," he said.