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Oct 23, 2006
Blog Post

New Data on's TV Ad Impact: Should Google Watch Its Back?

SUMMARY: No summary available.
By Anne Holland, President

Over the past year, (formerly AskJeeves) has run two heavy TV campaigns. The first was September 2005 and the second March 2006 (and they're in the midst of another fall campaign now.), which is the fourth most-used search engine in the US, was hoping to lure users from the big three: Google, Yahoo! and MSN Search. (The days when AOL Search was one of the big three are long gone.)

Could well-done TV creative broadcast at high-enough saturation move the needle? Is it possible to break Google's stride toward desktop domination? It's a question Microsoft especially would love to know the answer to.

So, MarketingSherpa's research team partnered with Compete Inc. to find out. You can see the results on the chart I've taken from our Search Marketing Benchmark Guide 2007 below. Chart

The thin line above shows's ad spend. It's pretty
dramatic; yet, at first glance, the results don't appear to be. After a fairly major media spend,'s online market share went from just over 3% to a bit over 4.5% and then subsided a bit.

The answer to the question then is, yes, you can grow online market share, but perhaps only a little if your competitors are heavily entrenched and you won't keep your peak forever.

However a look behind the numbers tells another story. From
August 2005 to August 2006, Compete and MarketingSherpa research also discovered that was the *only* major search engine to grow market share besides Google. Yahoo! and MSN Search both lost measured market share.

In that light,'s achievement is a major triumph.

Lesson learned? Google is a juggernaut. Expect MSN and Yahoo! to do heavy TV. And, if you do invest in major TV, be darned sure you've got a must-return-to site or service beforehand. Because one or two TV-driven visits per consumer do not ensure long-term loyalty.

Note: As with all MarketingSherpa content, the above chart is copyright protected. Please do not copy it; however, you can link to it on this permanent link.

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Comments about this Blog Entry

Oct 23, 2006 - Dianna Huff of DH Communications, Inc. says:
Anne, Does the chart include Ask's sponsorship of the TV show "Treasure Hunters?" I am really interested to see how they did with that!

Oct 23, 2006 - Jeremy of MarketSmart Interactive says:
I love Their results are fantastic, especially when compared to Google. The problem is that Ask isn't viral like Google is. It's "cool" to use Google. They have a huge amount of buzz and "everybody's doing it." I'd love to see Ask do more sponsorships of mainstream events. How cool would an NASCAR be?

Oct 24, 2006 - David Corkindale of University of South Australia says:
I assume that you are concluding that's advertising has had the effect of maintaining its market share, rather than growing it. However, looking at the chart seems to suggest that they could maybe have achieved this by only spending less than half as much, as they did Aug - Nov, 2005.

Oct 24, 2006 - Fred Hundt of TPT says:
I don't think the data in the chart supports your conclusion of "a major triumph." had a 3.6 share, spent $50mm and ended up at 3.8. There are a lot of competitive factors (such as AOL's rapid demise) that could have accounted for the growth. From the chart, one would conclude that less advertising in the first flight had about the same share impact as more dollars invested in the second flight.

Nov 02, 2006 - Andrew Goodman of Page Zero Media says:
The jury is still out on whether Ask even grew its market share. When people talk about search market share, they truly are interested in just that part of it. If we're talking about a whole bunch of related properties that may have done better on their own merits and not due to the ad campaign, then the TV ads really had nearly no impact on user behavior specifically WRT to *search*. Ask's "growth" or "lack of decline" is a matter of what you measure, I think; also, how it's measured. I recently talked to someone at Yahoo who noted some industry observations of past MSN and Yahoo TV ad blitzes that actually resulted in (or coincided with) them *losing* market share. For search behavior, TV ad blitzes have proven ineffective thus far, especially when measured against the investment.

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