A couple of days ago I started seeing Yahoo search banners on the internet and while that did cause me to think for a second, why? I thought, well at least they are using banner ads. I've seen banner ads for their search platform as well as targeted to media buyers. Again a little odd, but they should reap what they sow, right? Then on the way home from my office building in Union NJ I heard a radio ad for Yahoo Search and that caught my ear. Not because the ad was so creative, but the fact they were using offline marketing for search traffic.
Of course everyone remembers Ask Jeeves, but that was a lifetime ago. Why spend offline radio dollars? I'm guessing a TV campaign can't be far behind. TV and Radio are good vehicles for branding, but I'd think that my brothers and sisters at Yahoo would argue that banner ads can do just as an effective job (I still believe TV is kind for branding and imagery). Theoretically, there would be only 2 real reasons to use offline marketing to drive search activity
- Educate new search people to increase share
- Reach out to active internet searchers to rebrand their product to get share
#1 is hard to do because Google is so dominant that you could make the valid argument that Yahoo should let Google educate the new folks and then they "graduate" to Yahoo's "better" product (quotes because I'm not saying they are better, just what a marketer would say). The other one is just to generate pure searches. Then I started thinking, well how much could they spend to get more search traffic.
So I looked at their past few quarters of search revenue and then used comScore to get quarterly search volume and search share. As you can see from the chart I pulled together, Yahoo generates 5.85 cents for every search in Q3'08 and this was up from 5.82 cents in Q2'08. So for you Every Day Math whizzes, 1 million searches would generated $58,500 in revenue for Yahoo. Guessing some more, let's assume that in order to get a campaign like this approved, you need to have a return on advertising investment of 110%, so that means for 1 million searches they'd have to spend no more than $53,000.
Yahoo isn't running an advertising campaign for $53,000. So, for giggles let's guess they are spending $2 million in advertising this month. OK, too low? Let's go HUGE and say $10 million. $10 million spend at no worst than a 110% ROI means $11 million in search revenue or 188 million searches; worst case scenario. Think the ROI is too low, let's go crazy and say 300%. $10 million spend gets you $30 million in revenue. $30 million gets you 513 million searches. Now you are talking serious search traffic growth which maybe moves their share of searches temporarily up by say 1.5%.
Hmmm, that seems like an odd bet to me. Of course I don't have any real numbers, I don't know their ROI on advertising for search. I also didn't factor in search churn or cross selling numbers to other Yahoo products or banner sales. So my numbers are just guesses, but I go back to my original question which is Why Spend Offline Advertising Dollars Promoting Your Search Product? Seems desperate to me and a waste..but what do I know. I only worked on a Presidential Campaign that frequently had to do extraordinary things with little marketing dollars...