Commentary

Search Intent: The Human Psychology Supporting Online Advertising

James-GreenSearch engine marketing's share of the advertising budget should come in at around $14 billion this year, compared with $12 billion for display ads, according to "The Future Is Now: How display will drive innovation in search and search retargeting. The report, released by search retargeting company Magnetic, and supported by themes that comScore Analyst Eli Goodman and eMarketer Analyst David Hallerman often discuss, takes a look at how the digital marketing landscape will change.

Magnetic CEO James Green believes the future resides in the combination of search data and display advertisements, also known as search retargeting.

The report argues that search retargeting allows advertisers to just about pinpoint the time of the consumer's decision to make a purchase and examines the intersection between technology innovations and consumer behavior. Aside from Goodman, others who participated in the findings include Josh Dreller, VP of media technology for Fuor Digital; Rob Griffin, EVP global director of product development at Havas Digital; Terence Kawaja, founder and CEO of LUMA Partners; and Tina Ienna, SVP group director at Universal McCann. 

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While marketers should take into consideration that the company releasing the report generates its revenue from search retargeting, also consider that the company exists based on revenue earned from search retargeting. Yes -- a bit of a dichotomy when considering the report touts search retargeting as the next big thing. So, what do marketers believe? Go back to the psychology of search and intent-based advertising.

Marketers are conditioned to believe search data drives Web site traffic, but what about display ads or video ads? The report points to analysis from an academic study published by IBM Research Analyst Andrei Broder on the study of search intent categories in 2010. He found three main behaviors: navigational, for which the immediate intent is to reach a particular site; informational, for which the intent is to acquire some information assumed to be present on one or more Web pages; and transactional, for which the intent to perform some Web-mediated activity. All three of these behaviors directly address search retargeting.

Join us at the Search Insider Summit in Deer Valley, Park City, Utah, for a deeper discussion on search data and the possibilities for targeting display, video and other types of online media. 

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