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Media Intelligence : 2008 Intelligence
search engine marketing WP: I think that there are three key trends over the next 6-12 months. In relation to the slowing of overall advertising, we haven’t seen it in search. As the economy slows, marketers in all sorts of organisations will be pushed to spend their money where they generate the highest ROI. The more transparent it is the better the story they can tell internally. Search is still the most measurable segment of online advertising. If anything we are going to be seeing more robust spends on search because advertisers that are under pressure are going to funnel more of their money in search than they have before. The second thing is that we also think that brand advertisers are really going to start taking on search. The search experience is changing somewhat. We think that the consumer wants a deeper consumer experience. As that experience gets richer, the brand advertiser will come to see it as a medium in which they can connect. Brand advertisers are very intelligent. They knowthat search is the centre of the universe from an online perspective. Recent research suggests that consumers are forgoing portals in a move towards niche and independent websites. How can independent publishers capitalise on this and drive traffic towards their sites? “ the portals are able to. The other aspect to that, is that pay-per- click and paid search has levelled the playing fi eld and smaller publishers really can drive traffi c to their sites, rather than the portals dominating the search results. What is your opinion on the different research methodologies that are currently used in SEM? Niche and independent websites really need to think about what their role is in the search process as distinct from the portals and aggregators.” – Christine Parfitt, Semfire WP: It has come a long way in the last 18 months. In the past it was just clicks and click through rate. The most telling measurement that people use now is CPA – cost per acquisition and the challenge with that is that people don’t necessarily defi ne what that action is verywell. Take two large banks for example. One may defi ne it as a product application through the site, and another may defi ne it as a consumer clicking though to the site, so there is a big disparity. There is still some work to be done to help advertisers how best to define success. CP: What’s happening now is that there are more tools available to measure what is happening on websites, particularly now that people can use Google Analytics which is a free program. It provides an enormous amount of information and I think it is very eff ective, but the problem is that, in some ways, there is an overload of information. There is so much of it, and it is so detailed that I’m sure people often don’t do anything with it. There are a lot of things you can do with online measurement tools, but the data has to result in an action. Its no good printing off results at the end of the month, you have to look at why you are measuring things and actually take action. If you have a PPC campaign driving traffi c toa website, that site then has to convert the traffi c into sales or do something with it. Those results have to be measured and then the information acted on. I think that there are so many pieces to the puzzle and at the moment it is all operating independently. What do media buyers and planners need to knowabout SEM in the next 6-12 months? CP: If people are more sophisticated in their search behaviour they will look at diff erent types of websites to get the information they want. I still think people will be using the portal and aggregator sites to get an overview of what they are looking for at the beginning of the search process. Maybe because independent website quality is improving all the time, so once they have short listed their choices, they will look at independent websites for more information that the portals aren’t able to provide. Certainly niche websites can drive traffi c, but what is really important is to convert that traffi c into sales or to improve the branding. Niche and independent websites really need to think about what their role is in the search process as distinct from the portals and aggregators. The internet is becoming more conversational, and so there are opportunities available now to have a blog, for example, on their site, as well as providing information that people want to knowabove and beyond what 14 MEDIA Trends + Strategy CP: They need to be more aware and give it more prominence. The largest chunk of budget is still in things like traditional media, or even banner advertising. It’s probably fair to say that not as much attention has been given to online advertising. A paid search campaign is a diff erent mindset in the sense that there isn’t a lot of creative you can do. Within those four lines you need to get the right mix of words. You have towork on getting the right kind of traffi c. You want targeted traffi c, and to make sure it gets to the website and is converted into sales or do the things they are meant to do! WP: They need to knowthat it should be an integral part of any marketing campaign. All too often it is seen as a line item at the bottom. Search is the most eff ective way to capture the branding or performance awareness that advertisers create with their above the line initiatives.