Yesterday Search Engine Watch covered the Nielsen break down of the amount of spending by industry for ‘sponsored links’ and ‘text links’ in online advertising. At first glance, I thought the numbers would be based upon ‘sponsored text links’ or ‘paid links’, which would have been an interesting overview, but nonetheless, the Nielsen numbers do show which verticals are spending the most on sponsored links search, as defined by Nielsen:
Text-based ads that often appear as a result of a keyword search either on a search engine or associated site. These ads are often displayed alongside natural search results but identified under specified headers (e.g., “Paid Sponsor”, “Sponsored Link”, “Sponsored Sites” or “Sponsored Results”).
However, I also see a category for Image/Text Link, which has less spending and would probably include paid links:
Standard Image/Text Link: Ads that are comprised of many components, typically both image and text beneath the images, all of which link to the same destination URL.
Not to knock Nielsen, as they are probably doing their best, but I’m sure this cannot be 100% reflective of the paid linking market which takes place in the open on some linking networks but mostly under the table and is a huge mix of editorial, ad fees, paid services and other practices which help to acquire those juicy links. The industry breakdown for 2007 does let us into the vertical trends and identify, perhaps as publishers, which markets gather the most money for text links, especially compared to their display ad and sponsored search counterparts, and which do not.