Display Ads Boost Search Site Visits and Click-Throughs

September 9, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Brand Metrics | Media & Entertainment | Paid Search | Search Engine Optimization

Display ad campaigns can increase visits from search engines by nearly 14%, and can boost paid-search click-throughs by nearly 15%, according to a recent study by iCrossing, which reported that display campaigns also aid brand awareness, recognition and preference by attracting visitors to a website.

The report based on the study, “The Effects of Display Media on Search Traffic,” was written in response to what iCrossing perceived as a lack of awareness in the digital marketing industry as to the impact of display media on other digital channels.? As part of the report, iCrossing analyzed data from before, during and after display ad campaigns ran for one of its global travel clients.

For the research, the data was divided into four time periods between January 1 and February 28, 2008. The first had no display campaigns (period 1), the second had a display campaign run for the client by iCrossing, which also included related SEO efforts (period 2); the third featured a display campaign without SEO run for the client by another agency (period 3); and the fourth again had no display campaigns (period 4).

Key findings:

  • During the iCrossing campaign with SEO in period 2, both search visits and unique visits had statistically significant increases compared with before and after the campaign.? Search visits increased 13.7% during the campaign and decreased 30.8% after the campaign.


  • The campaign with SEO had significant impact on SEM click-throughs and cost-per-click, though not as much on SEM leads and lead conversion.? Compared with the campaign run in period 3, the campaign in period 2 that ran with SEO saw significantly higher click-throughs and a lower CPC.
  • Click-throughs reached their peak during period 2 and were significantly higher during that display campaign. At the same time, CPC reached the lowest point during period 2, indicating that display advertising helped SEM to reach higher cost efficieny by generating more click-throughs, an increase of nearly 15% when display media started running.

The report concluded that running a display campaign causes a statistically significant increase in search traffic, specifically search visits, unique visits and search click-throughs. Moreover, the paid search cost-per-click was lower during the display campaign with SEO and suggests that targeted display campaigns can help other media campaigns reach cost efficiency.

About the study: The research was undertaken to determine how adding display advertising to search media and SEO efforts could affect search traffic. The study included an analysis of? gathered with iCrossing’s Interest2Action web tracking and bid-management software.

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