Way To Go, SEO!
Contextual advertising has performed well for lots of marketers, but behavorial targeting for ads has started to surpass it in terms of performance. Both of them lost some gains in the percentage of marketers benefiting best from them. Search engine optimization picked up what they lost. Oh, paid search lost a little bit too.
Our readers won't be surprised to learn paid search proved best at return on investment (ROI) for 2006. Attendees of the ad:tech conference told Marketing Sherpa that out of several approaches, paid search was ROI gold.
In the eMarketer report citing a study of US online marketing tactics, paid search received the "best of" mention at a 49 percent clip. That's down a little from the 2005 study on the same topics.
E-mail (house lists) stayed the same, but nearly everything else dropped, including contextual and behavioral ads. Search engine optimization (SEO) made a double digit gain, going from 33 to 45 percent year over year.
Now that Google, the biggest player in paid search ads, appears to be striking its head on a ceiling, albeit a really high ceiling, could it be that the monetizing trend for marketers has started to shift as well?
Paid search and e-mail (house lists) rated one and two with ad:tech's surveyed attendees, and their placements in the list at 49 and 47 percent aren't much higher than that of SEO. No one will discount the importance of paid search yet, of course.
But if marketers can get markedly similar performance out of their websites by investing in SEO, rather than budgeting and maintaining paid search campaigns, they will be tempted to pocket some savings and go the SEO route.
Grousing about rising keyword costs has been a hobby of participants in the paid search arena. A shift in approach to SEO, maybe with a reduced paid search presence in favor of that change, could be the marketing trend of 2007.
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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.
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