6 Ways to Prepare for the Future of Search Marketing
The search experience continues to evolve to better meet the needs of searchers, so we have highlighted the top 6 areas that are expected to define future changes in search engine marketing and how marketers can position their brands to take advantage of the opportunities that these changes will present.
The biggest growth opportunity lies within mobile. With Google moving to Enhanced campaigns in 2013 and Yahoo/Bing right behind with Gemini and new device targeting options, mobile search will continue to grow and, according to Google, could pass desktop queries this year. This means that cross-screen messaging and attribution will become even more important. But, is the mobile searcher just researching or using mobile for research immediately before purchasing? The mobile searcher is transitioning from a researcher to a purchaser, because the ability to purchase from mobile is becoming more convenient as search and mobile sites become more sophisticated.
Social Media Marketing
Following mobile, social media marketing will have one of the biggest impacts on the future of search. Ad management platforms, Kenshoo and Marin, have made acquisitions that will enable Facebook ads to become better targeted using search data; and vice versa, search marketers will be able to infer information from social trends to help improve search campaigns. As consumers continue to visit social media more and more, they will increasingly rely on opinions of friends and brands they follow. This immediately translates into how consumers conduct searches. It will, most likely, also mean that sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, improve their site-side search functionality. Users won’t need to go to Google to search for something, but rather get exactly what they are looking for directly from Facebook or Twitter.
Search will continue to serve to the best experience of the consumer. The look and feel of paid search ads will continue to resemble organic listings more and more as well as contain extensions providing more useful information for the consumer (call extensions, sitelinks, review extensions, location extensions, image extensions). We expect more extensions to roll out to listings along the side rail as well as the top listings. In addition, more industry-specific ad formats (such as Google Hotel Price Ads) will continue to appear.
The 3 "V's"
Visual. Voice. Video. Search will become more visual. Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) as well as image ads and video ads will dominate the space. New technologies in the search space will make it easier for the consumer to purchase with as few clicks as possible.
With the growth of mobile, voice and video will also grow. Instead of typing in search queries, users will begin to rely more on voice searches. Site-side experiences will also begin to integrate more “chatting” capabilities, whether it is messaging or video (like the Amazon “Mayday” button).
Within search, marketers will begin to leverage more demographic and behavior targeting capabilities, which have been fairly non-existent. Recently, Google re-launched the Demographic for Search Ads beta, using publisher information from when a user visits a site on the Google Display Network in addition to demographic information users are sharing on social sites. In addition, Google Retargeting Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) has enabled search ads to become smarter by messaging searchers with an appropriate message based on the last place they visited on your site.
Lastly, search will change the way we manage media altogether by looking at scientific attribution both across devices and media types. Advertisers will start to rely more heavily on attribution models. Scientific attribution will continue to be a tough code to crack, and we expect to see the search engines and search management platforms make inroads with attribution modeling.
In addition, social logins will continue to play an important role in tracking users across different channels and devices. Although search will remain at the bottom of the funnel, it will become increasingly important to look at cross-media trending to see how social, display and traditional tactics influence search behaviors. Management platforms will continue to increase their sophistication and, potentially, provide the ability to manage and optimize all campaigns together in one platform.
It’s time to start preparing for the change and opportunities that will come from the evolution of the search experience. Whether or not you’ve started taking action on any of the above topics, it is time to start educating yourself and planning for your future marketing initiatives.