Viewpoint – Neil McKay

Marketers still want to be found at the top of the search listings; what has changed is how they ensure that happens.

Marketers still want to be found at the top of the search listings; what has changed is how they ensure that happens. A few years ago, marketers focused on organic and paid search. Now, with Google’s Universal Search kicking in, there is a lot more for marketers and agencies to think about; things such as news, product feeds, video and social media.

Organic search visibility has always been what marketers want most. It delivers sustainable, long-term benefits and the highest return on investment. But paid search supports organic and in some sectors it’s essential. For example, if organic search isn’t performing well at a crucial time, you can turn to paid to be at the top of the listings. The other benefit of paid is that you can optimise search creative immediately, which gives you more flexibility to get instant results.

The line between social media and search is becoming blurred. The impact of social media can be seen in real-time search, it also works well when you have promotions or giveaways. But businesses are still finding it difficult to make this a high ROI activity.

It’s the same with mobile search. I think we’ll be waiting a little longer for it to be mobile’s year, but brands such as Yelp enjoy huge success and we see the most potential with similar location-based mobile search apps. Everybody wants to know about mobile because they don’t want to miss out, but the highest ROI for most clients is still focused around paid and organic search campaigns.

In the meantime, I expect spending on search to continue to grow/ people are spending more to get the top converting places in the listings and are reducing their lower converting – often offline spend. Marketers are also becoming more sophisticated, focusing on long-tail keywords where costs are lower and intent is greater.

Google is aiding this with its Search Funnels technology, which enables AdWords users to see beyond the last click in paid search and see all keywords that contributed to a conversion. Click attribution has been around for years, but it is becoming much more important judging by client requirements. Search marketers have very few excuses now, because the tools they need are in place.

Neil McKay CEO Lakestar Media

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