by Katherine Jianas, Group Media Director at BKV
It seems like every day we read about new technological advancements in the search marketing space. There is no doubt search is changing rapidly, making it an exciting time to be a search marketer! We have identified the three main reasons for changes in the landscape.
As speculated already this year, mobile search has surpassed desktop. While mobile has naturally grown with the increase in smartphone usage, it has been further fueled in the paid search engine marketing space with the migration to Google Enhanced campaigns in 2013, and more recently with Bing Enhanced and Yahoo Gemini. And in the organic space, most recently “Mobilegeddon”, Google’s mobile SEO algorithm update, has further powered the importance of mobile. Gone are the days when you can target mobile and tablet separately from desktop. Now, search marketers must input mobile bid modifiers on an ad group level to manage mobile exposure. And organically, mobile search engine optimization must be accounted for as a site’s rank could be penalized if the site is not mobile-friendly. The growth of mobile over the last year has been astounding. According to Google, many categories are seeing upwards of 70% of all search queries occurring via mobile. While searches are as high as they’ve ever been and it is becoming easier for searchers to purchase via mobile, many are still finishing the purchase cycle via desktop or continuing their research across other devices. Here lies the challenge of identifying multiple searches as coming from one searcher on multiple devices. Leading us to #2…
Stella searches on Google for “dog bed” from her mobile device over breakfast, clicks a sponsored ad and finds a few options of interest. During her lunch break at work later in the day, Stella goes back to Google on her work laptop and searches “tempur-pedic dog bed”. She visits the same site and purchases a new tempur-pedic dog bed. Using “last click” conversion data, we would see Stella’s two searches as two different users. However with Facebook’s “people-based marketing”, we are able to see that Stella is the same searcher on both desktop and mobile. Facebook’s 2014 acquisition of Atlas Solutions makes this possible by leveraging Facebook login data to determine searchers across multiple devices. And in recent news, it has been rumored that Google will leverage Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, search queries and other Google services that require sign-in to better target search ads. Leading us to #3…
New technologies will allow for search marketers to better target ads based on known data. Using login data to determine searchers across multiple devices, Google and Facebook will also soon use collected data to better target search ads. Search marketers currently have several ways to personalize search results, such as using search query and location information and running certain betas that allow for bid modifiers on demographic information (like household income, gender and age). We can also remarket to a searcher when we know he/she has previously visited an advertiser’s site. As Facebook has done with “custom audiences”, Google could soon leverage email data to target users in an advertiser’s database with an applicable message when they are searching. For example, if the user previously purchased a product, it could be used to upsell another product. Google could also leverage “lookalike” audiences across the search platform to enable advertisers to extend an advertiser’s targetable reach.
Search marketing is changing for both SEM and SEO. Growth of mobile usage, people-based marketing tactics and targeting capabilities are primarily responsible for recent and upcoming changes in paid search. We can speculate that a paid search campaign in the future will look more like a display buy. For instance, we will have to buy on target rather than or in conjunction with the keyword. The search engines know to serve the right ad to the right person at the right time and on the right device whenever the searcher’s query is relevant in some way (i.e. on the advertisers landing page, similar to keywords on the advertiser’s landing page, is a top autofill search, etc.). As marketers, we’ll be able to better target and better optimize our search marketing campaigns by leveraging these initiatives.
Don’t get left behind as these changes roll out.