As digital advertising spendings are rising globally, spendings for sponsored search advertising is increasing at the same time. Today, sponsored search advertising is responsible for 22 cents in each ad dollar spending (WARC, 2019). Although organisations are spending a significant percentage of their ad spending on sponsored search ads, the overall click-through rate (CTR) for these ads is around 2% without any discrimination of the industries (Hubspot, 2020). Therefore, the researcher aspired to investigate the reasons why customers do not click on sponsored ads while organisations are spending a vast sum of money on these ads after going through the previous literature.
Accordingly, the researcher aimed to present comprehensive research- a mixed method of study- by mainly focusing on the customer side but also reflecting the organisational side. Considering no enough prior studies is focusing on Turkish Millennials' perceptions on sponsored search advertising, the researcher focused on this group via an online survey through Google Forms with the participation of one hundred and four respondents as the quantitative part of this research. Respondents' Search Engine Awareness (SEA), the factors influential on the click decision for paid search ads, and Customer-Perceived Value (CPV) of using search engines for online searches have been examined with its benefits and costs. Besides, as the qualitative part of the research, telephone interviews have been done with two digital marketers working in two different large-scaled and startup level organisations from finance and e-commerce sectors. Their preferred method of search engine advertising has been investigated with the benefits and drawbacks of both methods among Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Sponsored Search Advertising.
The findings illustrated that Turkish Millenials able to differentiate organic results from paid links with a preference for clicking on organic results since they have trust issues with paid search ads.Relevancy and being familiar with the brand of the ad are crucial factors to click on these ads. Furthermore, the data privacy issue is dispensable for Turkish Millennials when it comes to the relevant results gathered conveniently from searching online through search engines. Telephone interviews with employees of the organisations revealed that large-scaled organisations work with advertising agencies prefer focusing on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for their long term of interest. In contrast, startup organisations do digital marketing practices inhouse and focus on sponsored search ads as their short-term plan to secure online visibility. Being measurable and controllable are desirable features of sponsored search advertising as a result of real-time results for organisations.