The Paid Search sector continues to evolve and mature. Since its introduction in the mid-90s the sector, chameleon-like, has presented itself in many different formats. Providers have bitten the dust since then; others have merged; some have simply rebranded. However, whilst the nature of what we do continuing to change apace, it’s important for us as digital marketers to grasp the new opportunities that present themselves. As the industry re-shapes; the opportunities and threats evolve.
However, not every industry consists of a $34b global market like Paid Search.
At SiteVisibility we see one of the biggest opportunities for both clients and agencies with the expansion of mobile. The future of this ever growing sector will enable Pay Per Click (PPC) to reach a new segment of an audience yet remain capable of delivering creatively designed strategies and campaigns for mobile users.
With the upcoming integration of Bing and Yahoo search engines, we also expect the potential growth of this channel to surge. Location targeting and re-targeting through paid search continues to boom as it becomes more relevant to the user.
Another significant opportunity is the use of creative as well as text on the Google Display Network (GDN). Creative attracts a greater audience as it stands proud compared with that of text ads.
But with new opportunities, come fresh threats and challenges.
Perhaps understandably, ROI and CPA are quickly becoming the driving targets of our sector. However, the challenge is often meeting the expectations of board directors, owners and shareholders who have built up their own aspirations on how successful the campaign will be. Throw in an influx of highly financially-backed competitors within the same sector and you have a significant hurdle to overcome.
Additionally, this has created the necessity to design campaigns which allow for conversions through long-tail keywords. Whilst not a negative challenge, it is one to drive cheaper conversions. This will demonstrate the quality of staff, man-management and the agency itself. It will require agencies to implement more “out of the box” strategies to enhance and grow brands whilst reaching targets. The key is to be as transparent as possible.
In a world where using the phrase “cash is king” has become almost second-nature for business owners, the greatest threat to paid search is cost. Not only are budgets decreasing as companies look to work out what is the best online channel, but competition and costs are increasing within an online advertising market.
But the paid search sector is robust. The transparency it provides clients and campaign managers with its ease of tracking is well-reputed. Such tracking systems in PPC are so vigorous they can handle multi-channel, de-duping, assisted conversions, attribution models. PPC makes it very easy for a brand or product to stand out as it’s got great visibility, and can react quickly and flexibly to respond to any concerns, issues or changes to the campaign. This is why it’s vital to understand the history and credentials of your potential supplier. Don’t be fooled and blinded by those over-promising success in order to win your contract. If it sounds too good to be true; then the chances are it probably is.
The fast-evolving mix of options available in paid search will become one of the biggest challenges in the sector, meaning advertisers will have to learn new skills and techniques to stay ahead of the competition. PPC is no longer in its infancy, and most savvy advertisers have caught up with the brave new world of online marketing. The future will belong to those who invest time in their keyword research and their creatives, and who are not afraid to take big decisions based on the ROI for a particular keyphrase.
Mobile is going to play a huge role is shaping the future of our industry. Campaigns must reflect the increase in traffic from mobiles, therefore campaigns and strategies must be created to address this.
Currently, there isn’t enough consideration of mobile traffic, and as Google says, if 15 per cent of your traffic is coming via mobile, you need to respond accordingly.