Home  › Marketing › Strategies

Search: More Options, More Money, More Media

  |  December 7, 2007   |  Comments

Chicago may have been freezing, but search is red-hot. A dispatch from Search Engine Strategies.

The outside temperatures may have hovered in the single digits, but for four days this week attendees of Search Engine Strategies Chicago paid the weather little heed. We were too busy networking and straining to absorb the changes -- and their implications -- in the fast-moving world of SEM (define).

How quickly is search changing? I was blown away by the data comScore's James Lamberti, SVP of search and media, prepared especially for the "Universal, Blended and Vertical Search" panel. Lamberti contends search is becoming a destination unto itself with major implications for marketers.

The engines are pushing to update the SERP (define) and to create more of a multimedia experience. "With good bandwidth in the home, Web 2.0 technology, and a new generation of savvy users, it's clear the engines are committing to a more dynamic user experience," said Lamberti, while "economics is pushing [the search engines'] own content to the forefront."

Take Google. Nearly 400 million Google search referrals are to its own multimedia properties. Over the past six months, the search behemoth has been holding on to plenty of search traffic rather than push it to other sites. Traffic to Google's own images has grown an astonishing 173 percent; YouTube has grown 143 percent; Google Video has grown 77 percent; Maps has grown 45 percent; and News has grown 32 percent.

And boy, are people ever searching! In 2005-06, search queries grew by 15 billion, and this was widely expected to level out. Yet with 20 billion to 35 billion searches in 2006-07, search growth is as strong as ever. According to comScore, the average American conducts 74 queries each month (versus 52 queries per month last year). Lamberti says this means more creative options for SEM.

"With the natural side of the page evolving so quickly, the engines by necessity will need to offer those same multimedia options on the paid side of the page. This helps overcome the single biggest objection in search marketing: no creative real estate. We will see -- soon I hope -- images, click-to-play ads and integrated paid listings that will open up opportunities creatively," he predicts.

It also means more competition for real estate and higher prices for marketers buying paid search ads.

Lamberti found the major search engines are decreasing the likelihood a paid ad will appear on a query. The bottom line for users is more relevance. Fewer ads translate into higher click-through rates and better targeting.

The downside? More creative options plus less real estate equals higher costs.

Higher expectations, too? I moderated two new sessions on how to sell search and integrated marketing plans to the C-suite. One attendee raised an unexpected question: how do you sell realistic expectations to the suits who control the purse strings?

This marketer's problem is far from unique. Last year, he was allocated 5 percent of the marketing budget for search and interactive marketing. Results were so strong, this year he got 40 percent of the marketing pie. Now, you and I may understand the concept of diminishing returns, but it seems his bosses are, as nFusion's Bill Parkes put it, addicted to "Google crack."

Sage Lewis suggested it may be a good time for this marketer to update his resume.

Paid search isn't the only thing changing, of course. Universal, blended, and vertical search means SEO (define) is moving rapidly beyond mere keyword and link-building strategies for text-based pages. As Mike Grehan put it, "We have to educate the client again. It's not just about putting a title tag in." Multimedia search means involving (and educating) advertising and PR departments.

That won't be easy, of course. Northwestern University professor Don E. Schultz refers to this as "The Rodney Dangerfield School of Search Marketing" (after the comedian who famously griped he got no respect).

"Why, and how, and in what manner can search become a legitimate resource?" Schultz asked. "How do you justify someone giving you a sack of money and taking it out of television or promotional advertising? Because if you can't do that, you're going to end up a little miniscule operation."

Somehow, I think search -- and SEM -- is up to the challenge.

Want more search information? ClickZ SEM Archives contain all our search columns, organized by topic.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, August 29 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Lieb

Rebecca was previously VP, U.S. operations of Econsultancy, an independent source of advice and insight on digital marketing and e-commerce. Earlier, she held executive marketing and communications positions at strategic e-services companies, including Siegel & Gale, and has worked in the same capacity for global entertainment and media companies, including Universal Television & Networks Group (formerly USA Networks International) and Bertelsmann's RTL Television. As a journalist, she's written on media for numerous publications, including "The New York Times" and "The Wall Street Journal." Rebecca spent five years as Variety's Berlin-based German/Eastern European bureau chief. Rebecca also taught at New York University's Center for Publishing, where she also served on the Electronic Publishing Advisory Group. Rebecca, author of "The Truth About Search Engine Optimization," was ClickZ's editor-in-chief for over seven years.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Partnerships Senior Coordinator
      Partnerships Senior Coordinator (Zappos.com, Inc.) - Las VegasZappos IP, Inc. is looking for a Partnerships Senior Coordinator! Why join us? Our...
    • Assistant Product Listing Ads (PLA) Manager
      Assistant Product Listing Ads (PLA) Manager (Zappos.com, Inc.) - Las VegasZappos IP, Inc. is looking for an Assistant Product Listing Ads (PLA...
    • Marketing Technology Analyst
      Marketing Technology Analyst (Alfred Music) - Van NuysMarketing Technology Analyst DEFINITION Under the general/direct supervision of the head of...