A decade later, someone finally seems to be, well, messing with Google’s own bag of tricks. Last year, a group of economists working with eBay’s internal research lab issued a massive experimental study with a simple, startling conclusion: For a large, well-known brand, search ads are probably worthless. This month, their findings were re-released as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research and greeted with a round of coverage asking whether Internet advertising of any kind works at all.
Haven’t read the research study but it sounds related to this news I posted last year: eBay on shutting off branded keywords buys
In March 2012, eBay conducted a controlled trial to see what would happen if they shut off this “branded keyword advertising” by halting their purchases of search ads containing the word “ebay” on Microsoft and Yahoo search engines, while continuing to purchase search ads on Google as a control. There was no change in eBay sales via Yahoo and Bing, relative to those that came through Google — consumers simply substituted clicks on the unpaid search listing for the now-absent paid ones.