The Fastest Growing Advertising Medium Ever

October 16, 2008 at 9:19 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Can you guess what the fastest growing advertising medium is? (Here’s a hint: read my last entry.) Advertisers like it for its ability to reach a highly targeted, actively interested audience. What is it? According to Rick Karr in a program on NPR, it is search engine advertising!


Yes, even though as many as 61% of Internet users are unaware that advertisers can pay for inclusion or even specific placement in searches, this type of advertising is big business. Not all search engines offer the same advertising options; for example, Google offers paid placements under a “Sponsored Link” heading, but doesn’t offer paid inclusion. AltaVista takes a similar approach. Yahoo offers advertisers the choice of paid placement or paid inclusion; the former are marked by “Sponsored Results” headings, and the only disclosure in evidence is a marketer-directed “See your message here”  link.


Is it a problem for Internet users that advertisers can pay to show up in searches? It could provide useful retail information for searchers seeking help to make a purchase decision. However, what if it’s not obvious which results are paid/sponsored and which are not? That’s one aspect that varies greatly from one search engine to the next. Consumer WebWatch and the FCC monitor search engine advertising practices and disclosure statements, and reports are available showing which engines are improving and which are not. With the medium growing so fast, you can be sure that many eyes will be watching for compliance with the latest regulations. How does your favorite search engine do? 



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