Gord Hotchkiss looks ahead to the future of search and search marketing. Among the search trends: localisation, personalisation, integration with the desktop, unwiring, and expansion of search indexes.
In the midst of writing this article, I was called by a fund manager for a major mutual fund that has some investments in the Industry. She asked me if I believed search advertising revenues would flat line and maybe even start dropping in the near future.
I said that it’s possible that revenue produced by existing business models could slow from their previous meteoric rise, but I wouldn’t ever see them decreasing. As keyword inventories get tapped and bid prices find their natural ceilings, we have to see revenue growth slow.
But then I started talking about some of the potential of search that I’ve laid out in this article. We have to understand that this channel will evolve into an integrated and fundamental function of being online. It will be at the base of all we do. And the opportunities to deliver relevant, targeted marketing messages to highly motivated consumers will grow exponentially.
Will search marketing be the same as it is today? No. Will it be as straight forward? No. Will it cross over into other channels to a greater extent? Yes. Will there be money in it? Yesbillions and billions. Do Search Marketers have a challenge ahead of them? You have no idea how big a challenge!
Change will be the imperative for the industry. The search marketers who survive and prosper will be the ones who anticipate, pursue and embrace change. The pace of change in search will accelerate in direct relation to the amount of money invested. Microsoft’s entry into search is only the beginning. As search moves to the center of the online experience through the convergence of new search functionality, it will create a white hot tornado of demand. New technology will appear, be assimilated and become the new standard at a dizzying rate. The marketing potential of search will also move at a breakneck pace.
The largest search technology players will be investing huge amounts in monetizing this potential. They will be joined by a long line of partners waiting to jump on the rapidly moving bandwagon. Finally, we’ll see large portions of traditional marketing budgets being directed to the new online Chimera which has partially evolved from the search we once knew.
As with any situation that involves accelerated change, uncertainty and discontinuous innovation, there will be a huge demand for visionary practitioners to help navigate through this change. The brightest and best search marketers will accept this role and work to help advertisers plug into the new possibilities. It will take time for seamless solutions to catch up with the innovations and until then, it will be up to search marketing professionals to bridge the gaps. To do this, the search technology providers will finally, for once and for all, bury the hatchet and embrace search marketing vendors as their partners in the industry. They’ll have no choice. They won’t have enough feet on the street to help introduce the channel to all the potential advertisers and explain the intricacies. The potential for search marketing companies is huge, but so is the challenge.