A new model for paid search: Looking beyond the click

The PPC model prizes volume over attention, yet some publishers are now moving to measure time spent looking at ads rather than views. Could we see a move towards alternative models for search advertising?

Jon Myers, Marin Software vice-president and managing director, believes search is becoming more sophisticated as it shifts to focus search targeting towards people as opposed to keywords.

“The integration of search data with audience data from data management platforms (DMPs) is helping advertisers generate a powerful picture of not just what a consumer is looking for, but also who they are and how likely they are to convert. Innovative advertisers are realising that the more data they integrate, the better results they get from search,” says Myers.

Moneysupermarket.com recently worked with the company to integrate first-party data from its DMP with search through retargeting lists for search ads (RLSAs) to make its search more effective. According to Myers: “This data-driven approach undoubtedly reduces ad spend wastage. But it also delivers the twin benefits of consumers seeing more relevant ads and advertisers getting better conversion rates.”

BP is another brand looking beyond volume. Mark Rose, brand and communications manager at BP, which works with Mindshare on its corporate digital activity said: “Naturally, value to us does include the volume of clicks, but it goes way beyond this. Depending upon the objective of the particular search activity, we set our goals and measure the value in this way. We value different things for different campaigns. Whether that be time spent on site, pages viewed, actions completed, retention rate of video views and so on. Looking beyond the click enables us to create a PPC strategy that delivers more roundly against our goals.”

Andy Jones, head of search account management at Yahoo, argues the PPC model is the fastest, easiest way to reach a highly engaged audience. The model is being taken up in newer digital marketing channels such as native, with Yahoo Gemini’s native ads one example of agencies drawing similarities with how they buy paid search.

“Search marketers know exactly how the PPC model in native can be optimised to drive valuable converting traffic on a cost per click (CPC) basis,” says Jones.

“Targeting is key to running successful PPC search campaigns. It has long been the case that paid search marketers can control who is seeing search ads and when. They can use the targeting capabilities to ensure minimum wastage of budget, and ensure that every pound being spent is driving efficiency. It is all about working with the data and using the information that is available to deliver the all-important ROI.”

This article was originally published within The Drum magazine's 29 October edition as part of a dedicated search supplement, which can be purchased online here.