As always, Google seems to keep marketers on their toes with a constant barrage of changes. The latest changes from the search giant encompass the total removal of all of the ads that have lived on the right sidebar in their search results. These changes were expected to be finalized on February 22, and leave many marketing professionals wondering about the potential impacts.
Here are a few quick thoughts that delve into how the new advertising layout could affect the typical marketer, and how they may modify their strategies moving forward:
Likely Increase in PPC Costs
Now there are 4 spots on the page for all advertisers to fight over, so there will undoubtedly be increased CPC rates, as the simple rules of supply and demand would imply. Without the listings on the right-hand side, the scraps that may PPC campaigns depended on simply won’t exist. This will increase the need to implement robust keyword strategies and become hyper-focused on the quality scores of any landing pages for the ads.
More attention to organic search
Organic search can be a tough game these days, as you can’t skyrocket up the rankings overnight due to the increasing complexity of the algorithm. Having said that, now that PPC is set to embark on a new and more competitive era, it could make a lot of sense to allocate some of those dollars towards a more robust organic search and content strategy.
By investing in this “asset”, you can focus on a long-tail strategy that will send more and more organic (free) traffic to your site over time without having to come out of pocket for inflated PPC clicks. Plus, this strategy will greatly assist other endeavors and will help to jumpstart email and social media campaigns as well.
Display and social advertising become more appealing
For a number of years, PPC and SEM have been the popular kid on the block, but this development may ultimately be the tipping point that causes marketers and advertisers to diversify their advertising spend. With the number of options available these days, advertisers don’t lack in the ability to explore new strategies.
With display ads set to overtake search ads in 2016, you may start to see advertisers quickly move into this space in hopes of a higher return on their investment. You may also see increased focus in verticals such as social advertisements as brands that may have been hesitant can utilize the various types of social targeting to reach their audience just as effectively.
Firming up the conversion funnel to capture visitor data becomes vital
Finally, it’s about time that advertisers pay closer attention to strategies that help to make the most out of each and every visitor that comes to a website. Since visitors will be more expensive to attract, you may see even more money going into retargeting and other strategies that allow marketers to continue to reach these “anonymous” visitors after they have abandoned the site.
In addition, it may be time to implement (gasp) one of those hated exit intent pop-ups as a way of capturing additional leads with special offers for opting in. This could effectively lower a site’s cost to generate a lead, and those who haven’t used this strategy yet may be scratching their head afterwards wondering why it took them so long to implement.
Pay-per-click advertising isn’t going anywhere, and will likely remain one of the primary ways of generating paid traffic on the web. However, like with most things on the Internet, it is continuing to evolve and may or may not force those who depend on the strategy to come up with additional innovative ways of generating their KPI’s. As a believer in PPC, we only hope that the bids for ranking in the 1st four slots don’t become too exorbitant, requiring a drastic move.