Isolating and measuring the brand effect of search advertising

Mark Greenstreet and Jonny Protheroe

According to the UK's Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), internet advertising accounted for 19.2% of overall advertising spend in 2008 – more than £3.3bn according to the IAB/PwC 2008 UK Online Adspend Study.

Within the broad category of internet advertising, most spend (59.3%, or just under £2bn) was on paid search advertising. This means UK advertisers are, on average, spending over 11% of their advertising budget on paid search activity.

The overriding perception of paid search is that it delivers benefits to advertisers by influencing consumer behaviour, resulting in increased site visits and online sales. These are the usual measures of search effectiveness. They are easily tracked outcomes with hard metrics and the results can be delivered in real time. But what about the influence of paid search on brand measures?