It is going to be a tough year for search marketing ahead in 2009.
Many companies have been negatively affected by last year’s economic downturn, and one of the first casualties during the time of financial crisis is marketing spend. Even as the most cost-effective marketing channel – search engine marketing’s spending fell 8% in the US. Before setting advertising budgets for 2009, companies for the first time in nearly a decade started to severely scrutinize search marketing’s performance.
This is definitely the right time to manage your marketing spending according to your revised business goals. After all, search marketing is not an expense, but an investment.
Shift from off-line to online marketing
For companies that have been spending aggressively on mass marketing (for example, TV commercial ads), it is time to cut back and review the performance.
For companies that can rely entirely on online channels, it is the perfect time to shift completely from traditional marketing channels to online – especially to search marketing. In doing that, companies should start:
- Outsourcing search marketing to experienced search marketing agencies or individual experts
- Building an inhouse PPC team slowly and from scratch
- Structuring a global PPC team, with the end goal to save operational cost
Leverage from your competitors’ loss
Your competitors’ biggest loss will be your biggest gain when you use the economic downturn as an opportunity for growth.
In 2009, it is the time to recruit some of the most experienced PPC specialists when your competitors are starting to cut expenses and have laid off their online marketing experts.
It is the time to buy ads at a cheaper price – If your competitors have cut search marketing spending, you should increase (or at least maintain) yours. You will be surprised that many competitive keyword inventories are now available at lower costs.
Focus on performance-based search marketing
It is the time to focus entirely on return-on-investment from your marketing budgets and figure out the most cost-effective PPC business models.
Sophisticated bidding algorithms will help to optimize monetization of your PPC campaigns. By integrating your PPC campaigns into systems like Omniture, Kenshoo Search, SearchForce or Efficient Frontier, it will allow you to:
- Streamline the set up of your new PPC campaigns
- Optimize your spending by auto-pricing your keywords based on their individual performances
- Review and analyze your PPC performance on all levels across all major search engines
- Manage your long-tail keywords more efficiently
- Identify and minimize PPC click fraud
Google continues to dominate in search
Even 2009 may seem like a bad year for search engine marketing, Google still managed to gain significant search market share among all other major search engines in 2008. It will depend on whether this vigorous growth in search volume can compensate the loss in advertising revenue.
Regarding advertising platforms, Google will further pull away from Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft Adcenter by regularly introducing new features and innovations to Adwords.