Why Print Advertising May Not Be as Doomed as People Think
Last week’s Search Engine Strategies (SES) show in New York was worth two days out of the office, although it’s obvious to me how much SES misses its super-smart founder and search guru Danny Sullivan.
A lot of the sessions and keynotes I attended didn’t provide much new information, and often found their way to the recent debate concerning the amount of business Google (or pay-per-click advertising in general) may be losing. Perhaps the highlight of the show was author and entrepreneur John Battelle’s challenge of an outmatched Google representative on the company’s plan to take-over its search results pages (SERPs), with blended (aka, universal) search (images, videos, charts, maps, etc.) only the beginning. I also agree with Battelle’s accurate description of Microsoft and Yahoo as “Google-chasers.” Both companies trail so far behind in paid search market share that they both should give up.
Here are some random quotes from speakers at this year’s SES New York.
• “Make SEO (search engine optimization) a priority,” while “adding pay-per click (PPC) advertising as needed.”
• “Click costs are going up.”
• There is more and more “waste” in search engine marketing (SEM).
• It’s getting “more expensive to be in this space.”
• “Click-through rates (CTRs) on pay-per click (PPC) advertising has dropped 18% year-over-year for our clients.”
Let’s face it, the issue of increasing costs with decreasing response sounds familiar to a lot of print publishers.
Within a day of returning from New York, eMarketer sent out a release revising its downward forecast for online advertising this year to $25.8 billion from its prediction last October of $27.5 billion. The main reason given for the change was a slumping economy. Although it’s only a 6-percent adjustment and you certainly need to pay attention to the $25 billion spend, I think there’s more to it and the idea of Google owning its search result page should have marketers reconsidering how much they spend with them to advertise.
Open a new browser window and do a search on Google for “new york times.” Yet again, Google is up to its SERP tricks by offering the ability to search the Times’ Web site without leaving Google. Remember what I said earlier about universal search being only the beginning? If it’s not obvious that Google wants to compete with us, you better think again.