St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Sendtec is launching a campaign -- believed to be the first time a search marketing firm has advertised its services on TV. According to Ad Age's most recent ranking of search agencies, Sendtec is the fourth-largest search-marketing firm and generates about 35% of its $56 million in revenue from search, the rest coming from offline direct-response TV ads and other marketing services.
'Efficient' use of offline
"The fact so may people are searching and that it's part and parcel of any multichannel campaign, we think the audience is large enough for a B-to-B campaign, we think it's efficient for us to use an offline medium," said CEO Paul Soltoff.
The move does indeed underscore how prevalent search has become. Search advertising spending is expected to hit $8.3 billion in 2007, according to Forrester estimates, and $11.6 billion by 2010. Paid search is more than 40% of all online advertising spend.
Of course it's not the same as the late 1990s, when internet companies littered the airwaves with high-priced ads. First off, Sendtec's ads are hyping what has become a real, profitable web business. And second, the buy is small -- the direct-response ad will air on cable news networks CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.
"We think it's unusual," Mr. Soltoff said. "We suspect there'll be some companies that follow us."