Four Reasons You Should Be Investing in Ads on Vertical Search Sites

Consumers perform a vertical search when they are in the process of actively trying to purchase a specific product or service. In fact, Google even acknowledged the trend in a recent financial filing, specifically identifying vertical search sites like Kayak, Amazon, and Yelp as potential threats to its core business. Vertical search is a powerful marketing channel that brings marketers closer to their customers, and in doing so opens new doors of opportunity for generating business. Vertical search signifies high intent As consumers identify specific products of interest or decide to make purchases, the likelihood that they will rely on vertical search increases dramatically. Often, consumers take further steps to establish high purchase intent. Vertical search is data-driven A key promise of digital advertising for marketers has been the ability to accurately identify and engage the right audiences. Quite simply, vertical search is a highly data-rich form of media. Vertical search advertising is thus a form of native advertising. Vertical search provides a highly relevant and contextual consumer experience that encourages higher conversions and more sales. Instead, vertical search can play an important role in targeting those consumers via highly relevant ads.

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Online advertising has undergone various shifts in recent years—beginning with email, followed by display ads and click listings, and now with terms like “programmatic,” “social,” and “native” popping up all around today’s ad landscape.

In addition to those emerging channels, however, there’s another channel growing in prominence and impact: vertical search advertising.

Consumers perform a vertical search when they are in the process of actively trying to purchase a specific product or service. The notion of vertical search includes focused shopping sites (e.g., Amazon), integrated search and discovery sites (e.g., Kayak, Yelp), and sites tailored to high-consideration purchases, such as auto insurance, life insurance, and financial services.

Amazon is an excellent example of the emergence of vertical search. Although many may consider Google to be the search juggernaut, 45-50% of online product searches in the US are actually initiated on Amazon.com. Compare that with the 34% of online consumers who use search engines like Google to start their search, and it quickly becomes clear that consumer behavior has shifted and vertical search sites play a critical role in helping consumers find what they want.

In fact, Google even acknowledged the trend in a recent financial filing, specifically identifying vertical search sites like Kayak, Amazon, and Yelp as potential threats to its core business.

Vertical search is a powerful marketing channel that brings marketers closer to their customers, and in doing so opens new doors of opportunity for generating business.

The following are four reasons vertical search marketing is unlocking new value for advertisers.

1. Vertical search signifies high intent

As consumers identify specific products of interest or decide to make purchases, the likelihood that they will rely on vertical search increases dramatically.

For example, those prepared to purchase insurance, book a hotel, or buy concert tickets will almost always perform a search that identifies their intent. They might bypass a horizontal search engine and instead rely on a site that caters to that specific product, or they might add specific keywords to their query. Therefore, companies that buy ad units targeting vertical search will provide their brand with more valuable customers who are close to making a purchase.

The ability to determine consumer intent to such a degree can be transformative to the advertising business model.

Often, consumers take further steps to establish high purchase intent. When consumers take the time to complete a form to disclose personal information about themselves, they are demonstrating a strong willingness to be visible to brands and advertisers. As one can imagine, the value of reaching those specific customers at the time they intend to purchase is at the pinnacle of value-driven advertising.

Adtech companies, including mine, armed with information on demographics and category-specific spending habits, are capitalizing on this group and creating a bridge…

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