Q: While we see traditional keyword search as one of the most cost effective ways to generate leads online, we're reluctant to try display advertising. From what I've heard, display advertising could be a very effective way to achieve brand exposure, but not really efficient for lead generation or for any efforts where ROI is key. What's your take on this?
A: If the main goal of your online efforts is to generate leads online, then without a doubt you should keep focusing on traditional keyword search as a primary source of new business. There is simply no better way to target prospects than at the precise moment when they're looking for solutions to their problems by proactively searching online via keyword search.
However, display advertising has been proven to be a very effective way to generate leads as well, especially when used in conjunction with traditional keyword search. Display advertising has grown dramatically since it was simply labeled as a tool for brand awareness, and it has now become a very powerful tactic that can be used successfully for both branding and ROI.
Just think about Remarketing, which is one of the many possible targeting options for display advertising. For example, let's say a prospect comes to your website via keyword search, spends some time browsing your landing page, but he or she does not submit a lead or make a purchase. If your online marketing effort stopped here, then you may have lost a customer forever.
Instead, by setting up a Remarketing campaign, you then keep showing display advertising (in the form of banners, rich media, or plain text) to the prospect who visited your website but didn't convert while he or she visits other websites. The wonderful thing is, you can target those websites where you want your ads to show up, so that they are relevant to the products or services you're trying to sell, and they are also more likely to be clicked.
So, the prospect clicks your ad on another website, comes back to your landing page, and this time he or she becomes your customer. Note how the lead that was generated started with keyword search, and ended up with display.
Remarketing is just one of the many ways you can target prospects through display advertising: there are in fact more options available, like Topics, Keywords, or Placements.
In conclusion, even if your goal is pure ROI and not brand awareness, display advertising can be an efficient tactic to complement traditional keyword search, and as a marketer, you should definitely include it into your digital efforts.