It is widely expected that the amount of money invested by businesses into the paid search market will grow significantly over the next 12 months. This means that the need for campaigns to deliver an ever-increasing return on investment (ROI) is greater than ever. Digital marketing community Econsultancy has posted its predictions for the paid search market in the next 12 months.
• High keyword prices will force marketers to try new strategies
According to research carried out in the US, two-thirds of marketers see their biggest challenge in the paid search market as high prices for keywords. Despite the growth of paid searches beginning to slow down, advertisers are continually pumping more money into the industry, and as a result, keyword prices are becoming more expensive.
Because of this, marketers will need to focus on careful keyword management, testing, and targeting, in order to increase the ROI on their campaigns. Quality Score optimising will become a priority; this will bring costs down whilst simultaneously driving conversions up.
Geographic and demographic targeting will also be more widely used this year, with these strategies reaching out to national advertisers and retailers.
• Paid search will be more integrated
Although search marketing accounts for more than half of digital marketing budgets (representing tens of millions of pounds for the larger companies), most search marketing programmes are still managed separately from traditional marketing departments. This year, organisations will look to integrate their paid search operations more tightly into the business, rather than running them as a standalone unit.
Integrating systems will make search marketers change the way they report and organise their KPI’s, leading to a big shift in how this information is communicated upwards in the business. Search marketers will therefore need to adjust to new processes, using dashboards and proposals for investment. In return, they will be looking to see more executive support and therefore larger budgets.
• Paid search will go multichannel
Google recently found that over half of online shoppers research their purchases on the internet before eventually buying the products in-store. On this basis, search marketers are currently missing out on credit for half of the revenues their campaigns are driving.
However, the tools for measuring across channels are now much more accessible to businesses, whether it’s linking phone numbers to keywords, or taking in-store surveys to see how the customer learnt about the products they’ve purchased.
These tools will make it much easier for firms to make properly informed decisions on the allocation of their search budgets, and also make sure that they are driving both online and offline conversions. Learning how offline buyers are researching their needs will allow multichannel traders to find new, low cost keywords to drive profitable expansion of their paid-search programs.
• Facebook and Twitter Will Give Google a Run for Its Money
Social networking sites like Facebook, which currently has over a billion queries on its site every month, will extend their own search technology to allow users the ability to query the content in their news feeds. This will make it much easier for users to get recommendations from their friends on anything from restaurants and mobile phones, to films and TV programmes.
Advertising money for keyword placements is sure to follow suit, therefore search marketers will need to alter their campaigns to account for a more social set of keywords. This will enable them to catch consumers earlier in the consideration process than they could on traditional search engines like Google or Yahoo! And since these users will still in the research phase of purchasing a product (ie, placing a lot of value in word-of-mouth recommendations) these clicks could be very valuable.
While it will be difficult to incorporate all of these changes into campaigns, those marketers who can capitalise on some of these trends will most likely be a step ahead of the competition.