Online advertising has undergone various shifts in recent years—beginning with email, followed by display ads and click listings, and now with terms like "programmatic," "social," and "native" popping up all around today's ad landscape.

In addition to those emerging channels, however, there's another channel growing in prominence and impact: vertical search advertising.

Consumers perform a vertical search when they are in the process of actively trying to purchase a specific product or service. The notion of vertical search includes focused shopping sites (e.g., Amazon), integrated search and discovery sites (e.g., Kayak, Yelp), and sites tailored to high-consideration purchases, such as auto insurance, life insurance, and financial services.

Amazon is an excellent example of the emergence of vertical search. Although many may consider Google to be the search juggernaut, 45-50% of online product searches in the US are actually initiated on Compare that with the 34% of online consumers who use search engines like Google to start their search, and it quickly becomes clear that consumer behavior has shifted and vertical search sites play a critical role in helping consumers find what they want.

In fact, Google even acknowledged the trend in a recent financial filing, specifically identifying vertical search sites like Kayak, Amazon, and Yelp as potential threats to its core business.

Vertical search is a powerful marketing channel that brings marketers closer to their customers, and in doing so opens new doors of opportunity for generating business.

The following are four reasons vertical search marketing is unlocking new value for advertisers.

1. Vertical search signifies high intent

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image of Jeff Navach

Jeff Navach is VP of marketing at MediaAlpha, an advertising technology company that develops programmatic advertising platforms that bring transparency and efficiency to the buying and selling of structured lead generation media.

LinkedIn: Jeff Navach