Pay Per Click December 28th, 2012
2012 saw a lot of new advancements in paid search advertising with exciting enhancements to the Google Search & Display network. The world of paid search will continue to see new and exciting features as 2012 betas become more standard product offerings in 2013. There are a few industry trends that are important considerations for all digital marketers. Understanding these trends and applying creative marketing ideas to these opportunities will be the differentiator between advertisers who keep to the status quo versus those who are proactively implementing new robust campaigns designed to capitalize on emerging Google search and display trends.
An example of a trend that has grown significantly in 2012 and will continue to explode into 2013 is the concept of advertising to user engaged in the “multi screen” universe we now live in. The digital age has been around for long enough now but there have been a more apparent change in how people are using technology compared to how they did even 5 years ago. The multi screen digital age is in reference to anit individual who are multi-tasking between traditional TV viewing, while finding the latest deal on their laptop, finally engaging in social media, texting or gaming on their smart phone or tablet. The key for marketers is thinking about creative and effective methods to utilize all of those touch points, TV, smartphone/tablet and standard personal computer usage. Given that a significant amount of the online populace seems to be engaged with all of these technologies and use them for different purposes at different times in the day, it’s remarkable that most advertisers haven’t exploited it yet.
The challenge for a lot of marketers now is how to attribute multi-channel advertising. How do you know that the TV or radio commercial led to more search activity, or resulted in an increase in ecommerce? Was it the remarketing ad on the Google display network that inspired a user to return to a site to perform a desired action? Did social media spark the initial interest but the point of conversion was realized via click-to-call smartphone dial. What channel gets the credit and how do you monetize this?
Lead tracking and reporting in 2012 saw some major gains, with new features in Google Analytics and other third party tracking tools. The key to understanding attribution is to make sure you are doing the basics well. For example, tracking email leads and not calls (mobile or traditional) is not going to help your attribution cause. Having the ability to track leads via channel is so critical and the majority of advertisers out there are still not actively tracking leads at the channel level. For example, it is crucial for attribution if you are running a search, display, and remarketing campaign that you have dedicated call tracking numbers (or mobile conversion codes) so that you can attribute leads to the right channel.
Further to the multi-screen universe concept, there are some new features that will undoubtedly help re-shape the paid search world. The growing emphasis on building and expanding mobile specific efforts will be a major factor in 2013. “Hyperlocal” essentially is real time bidding based on proximity to a vendor’s location and is just a small example of the power of mobile advertising. The majority of business owners have gotten the memo that they need to have a mobile friendly landing environment. It is no longer enough to just have your site available online; it now needs to be user friendly designed for the mobile user. Conversely, paid search advertises will likely need to re-think how they are promoting campaigns for desktop /laptop search separately from mobile users. Building dedicated mobile campaign ads, and keywords will make a significant impact on the performance of paid search campaigns overall. According to Google: “51% of consumers are more likely to purchase from retailers that have mobile-specific websites.” The very nature of mobile search is the importance of owning the 1-2 spot on mobile search. If mobile campaigns are not bidding aggressively for these top spots, your mobile campaign is likely to show mediocre results at best.
The growth of the mobile and tablet market, coupled with another record year for search queries and industry wide ad spend will continue to grow in 2013. It will be very interesting to see how advertisers and agencies capitalize on the trends like multi-screen interaction and mobile specific development. There will likely be a 10 fold increase in the number of mobile specific sites and likely to see mobile paid search queries double if not triple. The data and writing is on the wall, the question is who will benefit the most from understanding and catering to the consistently changing digital world we have found ourselves in.