What's to Come for Paid Search in 2010

By Brian Donohoe, Account Supervisor

After a roller coaster ride of economics, politics and in our world, media budgets, it (knock on wood) looks as if things have calmed down moving into 2010. Companies have been able to cut their losses and look forward on how to grow again. Although Paid Search saw its fair share of cuts last year, in many cases it was one of the media channels advertisers had the most faith and confidence in, given its well known efficiency and trackability. As a result, many CMOs and CEOs have most likely been able to put a closer eye on Search, which may give way for further development in their Paid Search program. Here are several high-level predictions I have for 2010.

Paid Search will become fully integrated with Digital and overall marketing campaigns.

Instead of Paid Search being thought of as a default media channel or just an easy way to get traffic to your site at a low cost, clients are understanding the intricate strategies behind search and it’s not just a matter of dumping some keywords over to Google. Search plans will become bigger and more detailed, and advertiser expectations will rise. Even though Search has been taken more seriously over the past three years, it will officially take its seat in overall marketing plans.

CPCs will continue to rise.

As clients start to pay more attention and invest more in search, bid strategies will become more aggressive and CPCs will shoot up. I saw it big time over the course of the summer with some of my pharmaceutical accounts. Competition laid it on thick in terms of bids, and we hit them right back. The result was a bidding war on high volume terms that lasted throughout the end of the year and is still going. CPCs increased significantly and physically changed the marketplace for several pharma verticals. The value has been seen in consumers in the search market and now it’s a matter of getting them.

Mobile…is this finally the year?

We’ve been saying it for years but this year mobile might become the big deal it’s always considered itself. In 2010 one can make the argument that’s it’s against the norm to not have a smart phone. Everyone has given in and service providers have really started to advertise heavily and compete on who has the better 3G network. We will see the effect in clients wanting to test mobile. Especially on the local side where it is almost a given. Mobile products and programs will advance and advertisers will be more curious than ever before.

Web Analytics will no longer be a “nice to have”

As more is invested in the digital markets, advertisers will want to know what else happens post-click. Not just isolated actions—they will want real insight on how consumers are behaving on their site. This will in turn put more emphasis on web development and site enhancement. Advertisers will put more value in unbranded terms that may not convert but result in multiple page views and solid time on site. Digital online behavior will become more clear.

So keep a watchful eye on these trends and don’t say I didn’t warn you. We all know I’m right on this.


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