Study tackles search engines’ impact on b-to-b advertising

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Philadelphia—The entire advertising marketplace is in a state of flux caused by search engines’ introduction of pay-for-performance ad programs, according to a study released Wednesday by InfoCommerce Group.

The study, “Online Buying Guides: Making Sense of What’s Happening Now,” found that advertisers are not so interested in pay-for-performance itself but one of its key manifestations: shifting advertising risk from the advertiser to the publisher.

The study also found that rather than stress the quality of their audiences—something that advertisers are increasingly willing to consider as part of their ad buying—62% of publishers surveyed continue to sell largely on the basis of their overall site traffic. The report said that’s generally a losing strategy because vertical b-to-b sites rarely generate impressive traffic.

—Matthew Schwartz

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