Big bets for the future of paid search

Dur­ing the past years, the media buy­ing world has changed dra­mat­i­cal­ly. Major advances in Adver­tis­ing Tech­nol­o­gy and con­sumer elec­tron­ics have opened up the doors for nev­er-before-seen tar­get­ing and mea­sure­ment capa­bil­i­ties. With 85% of Google’s rev­enue com­ing from their AdWords plat­form in 2013, it is also clear that paid adver­tis­ing isn’t going away any­time soon. How­ev­er, the sec­tor is chang­ing sig­nif­i­cant­ly, and Google has now com­pe­ti­tion like nev­er before, from oth­er search engines but also oth­er adver­tis­ing chan­nels. In this arti­cle, we will dis­cuss where the paid search world is head­ing, with a shift towards non-brand­ed key­words, the emer­gence of Search Retar­get­ing and Google Shop­ping, and the rise of mobile search.

The shift towards non-brand­ed keywords

As dis­cussed in my recent arti­cle on gener­ic key­words and brand­ed key­words, I believe that in the near future, search mar­keters will use more and more gener­ic key­words, rather than brand­ed key­words. Indeed, brand­ed key­words have less val­ue on the cus­tomer jour­ney, as they are used by clients who are already aware of the brand and of its prod­ucts. In con­trast, gener­ic key­words have the pow­er to cre­ate aware­ness and to real­ly boost sales, espe­cial­ly when the mes­sages focus more on the val­ue of the prod­ucts than on prices or discounts.

Using engage­ment met­rics like the time on site, video views, or aban­doned shop­ping cart rate can also be extreme­ly use­ful to bet­ter opti­mise the cam­paign, in addi­tion to the con­ver­sion met­rics. paid search is head­ing towards this dou­ble opti­mi­sa­tion stan­dard, which would give more accu­ra­cy in the man­age­ment of the cam­paign, and help max­imise results.

Search Retar­get­ing and Google Shop­ping campaigns

We can see audi­ence-based search opti­mi­sa­tion tak­ing more and more impor­tance in 2015. Remar­ket­ing lists for search ads (RLSAs), or ‘Search Retar­get­ing, is a way to tar­get ads to a select group of users, also called an “audi­ence”, is get­ting big­ger with the improve­ment of tools ded­i­cat­ed to man­age these audi­ences. The ben­e­fits of search retar­get­ing are clear: it is cost effec­tive, pro­vides bet­ter tar­get­ing, and the audi­ences can be used again for dis­play campaigns.

We can also pre­dict that more indus­try-spe­cif­ic ad for­mats are like­ly to emerge. Rich­er and more rel­e­vant ad for­mats are the future of paid search, as the mas­sive adop­tion of Google Shop­ping by retail adver­tis­ers and shop­pers has shown. Google Shop­ping has also giv­en clear evi­dence that this type of adver­tis­ing for­mat pro­vide more vis­i­bil­i­ty, a bet­ter user expe­ri­ence, and that more and more adver­tis­ers are will­ing to subscribe.

The rise of Mobile in Paid Search

Final­ly, the grow­ing influ­ence of mobile can’t be ignored, and will keep on gain­ing impor­tance in 2015 for SEM cam­paigns. As con­sumer engage­ment and spend con­tin­ues to shift away from desk­top and toward mobile devices, adver­tis­ers need to work on their mobile strat­e­gy today to cap­i­talise on this grow­ing rev­enue oppor­tu­ni­ty tomor­row. Strate­gies like inte­grat­ing mobile-app cam­paigns, call track­ing solu­tions and mobile-opti­mised ad cre­ative and land­ing pages will take pri­or­i­ty in 2015.

In con­clu­sion, paid search is evolv­ing fast and search mar­keters need to adapt to these new changes. Count­ing on a sim­ple bid man­age­ment process is not enough any­more, and it is now nec­es­sary to use a tool, such as Adobe Media Opti­miz­er, capa­ble of man­ag­ing mul­ti­ple audi­ence groups and opti­mis­ing to on-site engage­ment metrics.

What do you think, how do you see the evo­lu­tion of the web impact­ing the search world? Do you agree with our predictions?