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side-listed positions possible. There are also questions with regard to the nature of e-commerce queries and the trends in sponsored links that shed light on their effectiveness overall.

Comparing Literature Reviews

In both articles, the literature reviews are thorough and very well organized. Starting with (Jansen 2007) the depth of literature review to the cause -- and effect level of the analysis is impressive. The researchers who completed the analysis in this article have found many references to research that refute their claim, that sponsored search is more effective. In fact the secondary research and open-ended discussions completed by the Marketing Leadership Council (2006) are exactly the opposite of the findings of (Jansen 2007). Of the two, the latter has created a bibliography that supports how contextually-driven sponsored search is relative to non-sponsored research, showing that search engine results page (SERP) is an accurate metric for evaluating the effectiveness of each phase of the researchers' methodology. The literature review from the (Marketing Leadership Council 2006) shows in Table III a series of common metrics for measuring Search Engine Marketing (SEM) efforts. Included in this set of metrics are conversion rate, cost per order, cost per action, return on advertising spend (ROS), and return on investment (ROI). In the area of metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs), both studies' literature reviews have sufficient coverage to be practical to the reader who will actually have to implement a search strategy online for their companies.

One of the stronger aspects of the (Marketing Leadership Council 2006) research is the actual case studies from Fairmont Hotels and Medtronic, while the (Jansen 2007) research does not specifically include practical case studies for use by practitioners relying on their research. What is prescriptive about the Fairmont Hotels case analysis specifically are the four steps that the hotel chain took to optimize their SEM strategies (page 13). The focus on being able to create brand awareness is shown graphically in the case study as well (page 14). Integrating SEM efforts across specialist teams, product and regional groups is one of the most valuable practical concepts presented in the (Marketing Leadership Council 2006) research (page 15). In summary, both papers excel in their literature reviews, including an ample set of references for future reading.

Comparing Theoretical Frameworks

Of the two articles, the theoretical framework from (Jansen 2007) is by far more robust and thorough as it includes a series of cause-and-effect relationships that are in turn quantified through multiple iterations of the research methodology. (Jansen 2007) also includes a series of approaches to expediting both sponsored and non-sponsored entries into each search engines' taxonomies for quicker analysis. The researchers have also created a methodology to test and verify through multiple iterations of search terms to verify that both sponsored and non-sponsored research is used the majority of the time for product searches, where content and title of the data matter more than perception of trust online. This is a point each article supports as well.

In terms of a conceptual or theoretical framework in the more qualitatively-based research, the structure is understandably much more nonlinear and less able to replicate at the purely metrically-based approach. Instead, the focus is on having a series of strategic steps for creating a higher level of organic or non-sponsored research results. In this regard the qualitatively-based research effort in fact contradicts the quantitatively-based one.

Summary and Conclusions

The strategies used for accelerating the impact of search terms into the taxonomies of search engines used by (Jansen 2007) and the resulting analysis based on actual web users looking for the results in effect create a microcosm of how companies work to increase their awareness globally through SEM-based marketing approaches. Conversely the methodologies defined by the (Marketing Leadership Council 2006) are more focused on the loosely-defined series of cause-and-effect relationships present in Fairmont Hotels' and Medtronic's results. The combined effects of these two studies shows that while there are variations in the effectiveness of sponsored vs. non-sponsored research, there are significant benefits to be gained from the development of SEM strategies when measured on the accumulated impact on taxonomy entries for each of the three dominant search engines, which is the best measure of long-term effectiveness.


Jansen (2007). The Comparative Effectiveness of Sponsored and Nonsponsored Links for…[continue]

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