ClickZ had an interesting article yesterday on what's working in the web.
And it got us thinking.
The point of view espoused in a recent study by OPA, is rather simple. Spend your marketing dollars online. Just do it in very specific locales. Spend that cash on your site, use it as a branding play and dump the rest in with content providers (such as newspaper web sites) online. They used Dynamic Logic's MarketNorms database to gauge the impact of advertising across a variety of different Web environments to come up with this hypothesis. And, worth noting. This is the online publishers association that funded the study. So they clearly have a bit of a slant.
With our G5 Media Dashboard, we are able to see that the impact of good SEO and a high quality site is incredibly important. No matter how much money you spend on SEM, it can be a non-issue. If you reach a web site and what people see doesn't make them want to take the next step to contact your business, your money has been wasted.
However, one disagreement we have is how to get there.
Sure, using a "branded content site" (ala Newspaper sites) can work. However, there is absolutely something to be said for the real advertising portals of the web: search engines.
Study after study shows that users of search engines go directly there. Numbers have actually shown that a disproportionate number of people actually google google. No. Really.
But according to ClickZ:
"Nearly all forms of online media have an important role to play throughout the purchase 'funnel,'" said OPA President Pam Horan. "But branded content sites have a notably greater impact at the points where consumers are establishing brand preference and making purchase decisions."
So what does this mean for clients like ours? Regional businesses still need to focus on the basics. Using a content site will cost you more and deliver less for it.
Eventually, content may win users back once the shift online is complete. But not yet. Right now, it is the aggregator who is king.