What’s Coming Up In 2012 — Paid Search

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Here is the second part of predictions for 2012 from some of our contributors. The first part on social media appeared earlier.

Pay-Per-Click Marketing

Question:  In 2012, what will be important to consider about effectively implementing or maintaining pay-per-click marketin in order to excel?

David Rodnitzky Figuring out how mobile PPC works will be crucial. I know there are a lot of things that are already proven to work in mobile PPC (e.g., local searches, mobile apps, price comparisons), but what about everything else? That’s going to be the big challenge in 2012.

Ben Leftwich Expanding traditional PPC ads on Google and Bing is going to be crucial to their success. New dynamic search ads on Google, and rich ads in search on Bing/Yahoo! provide additional ad expansion methods beyond those already established (e.g., sitelinks, location, click-to-call, product). Ensuring you have a customized mobile and tablet conversion process for PPC ads served on those devices will also help to generate profit in this emerging space. It’s key to think outside of PPC and instead towards a comprehensive paid media strategy online.

Jeff Quipp Landing pages will become even more important in 2012 as the competitiveness of PPC continues to increase. Those with the highest conversion rates can afford to spend more per click, and can therefore compete better. At the same time, paid social and remarketing will continue to increase in importance.

Guy HillI would recommend search marketers resist the urge to always do something new — and I say this every year. So, saying that another way, I believe the path to success is rather consistent, and it’s NOT 2012 related. Most of us, if we work hard, will build on our core strengths this year. We’ll build on our optimization skills, build on our copywriting abilities, take better advantage of existing tools and data available from Google, refine our testing methodologies, etc. 2012 is a chance to audit and tune existing accounts and tracking systems. For most companies, the best thing you could do to drive ROI for search marketing would be to fix what is broken in your existing programs.

If all that is up-to-date (meaning accounts have been recently audited and tuned), then it’s time to push deeper in the data. Most companies could go further into tracking/testing the impact of campaign deeper into the funnel and revenue stream. For B2B that could turn out to be better, more actionable integration of SEM campaigns with CRM systems. For B2C, it could be about integrating SEM and ongoing email nurturing programs and tracking revenue for months past the initial click. As I work on these projects with clients, I always ask the CRM vendors, etc., “how many of your clients get this done?” The vendors tell me the answer is very few. Most marketers can’t articulate this work, let alone implement it, nor maintain these systems to keep them relevant and healthy. This is not new, but it’s a big opportunity.

Most of my recommendations aren’t “new” or 2012-specific. I’d bet a dollar that if you are current in terms of your education, truly new ideas will contribute very little to the bottom line this year. I’d go further, and say that for companies that are addicted to “new,” they will lose revenue, by neglecting the bread-and-butter aspect of programs already on their plates and chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Having audited many companies accounts, I see serious work needed at the basic level, almost every time. That’s not sexy, but it’s necessary to win more revenue.

I think the best way to get ahead of competitors is to show discipline in known techniques, and not by chasing after “bleeding edge” concepts. Discipline is classic, and a noble path to glory. Winners in 2012 will show discipline.

Christian Arno The link between social media and PPC advertising is set to become more important. Marketers will find they need to promote their “social likeability” on sites such as Facebook and Google+.

Rebecca Appleton PPC is more competitive than ever with increased advertiser involvement. To truly compete, advertisers will need to really embrace all forms of PPC offered to them, particularly mobile ads and similar options.

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