Search Becomes the Display Operating System
I first wrote about the idea of search strategies working in display to deliver more relevant ads two years ago. In the ensuing two years as followers of this blog know I’ve become passionate about the opportunity to build creative technology that makes display ads more relevant. One advantage I have working on these solutions is that I’m an outsider. I don’t think the way people in the display world think. I’m wired differently. I am and will always be a search guy.
That mindset helps because search is more than a channel. Search is the way people use the web. People don’t just fire up a browser without a goal in mind. We are all taking actions on the web based on our goal. Information we notice and content we experience along our goal path may change our goals, but it does not change the two basic natures of how we use the web – recovery and discovery.
Therein lies the key functional distinction between display and search. Search (as an app on the platform) is weaved into the web and the way we use it. Display is not. Display is layered on top of the web. This is why despite twelve years and countless millions of investment it has never performed. Frankly, it was doomed from the get-go. It never was a web service but rather built to be its own parallel platform (ehem, “Platform A”). The problem inherent with that is the medium is itself a platform. Ads will never control this medium. Here the medium (users) should control the ads.
These ideas formed the basis of RAMP - to shrink dynamic landing pages and serve them to people based on any number of rules - effectively reverse engineering the search experience into display's near limitless inventory and producing higher ROI through lower display CPM than search CPC. One year later we are doing all of this with some amazing technologies supporting these endeavors. We are creating display ads to be off ramps to existing goal paths and on ramps to changed goals. We are using keywords to define the ad that is shown and allowing users to maintain control over the content experience within the ad much the same way one would use a SERP.
That brings me to this:
"The increasing marginal returns of search advertising are now doing more than taking market share from display advertising, they are en route becoming display advertising's operating principle."
I read this from Scott Rafer (Founder of MyBlogLog, Mashery & Lookery) this past October. It encapsulated my own thinking and at the same time made me think the ideas I was working on with RAMP were part of something much larger and something that it was time to talk about.
So when it came time to pitch session ideas to SES New York I contacted them and led off my pitch with Scott’s quote. They immediately agreed to add this session, give it primetime slot on the agenda and kept Scott’s quote in the summary.
I’m psyched that Search Becomes the Display OS will be the first conference session explaining and exploring the many ways search strategies, technology and innovation are making advertising more relevant, creating better experiences for people and delivering increased performance for advertisers and publishers.
So on March 25th at 2:15pm I hope you’ll join me in New York when Scott Rafer, Amit Kumar (former lead of Yahoo Search Monkey now VP Product for Dapper) and Bob Dillon VP of Product Marketing at Yahoo help usher in a new era of technology, functionality, relevance and performance in display.
Previous Posts on Bringing Search to Display: