Are Search Ads A Waste Of Money?

Put aside the issue of possible self-interest. Microsoft's Atlas has released new research to suggest that paying top dollar for high ad placement of branded keywords on search results pages (such as Google's) is a waste, because it's really a "glorified Yellow Pages listing." Atlas estimates listings tied to branded keywords eat up about half of search budgets. But most consumers who see them were on their way to those sites anyway.

To reach its conclusion, Atlas studied 30 search ad campaigns reaching 120,000 users of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. Nearly half the clicks on these ads came from people who had already visited the advertiser's Web site.
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