If you’re responsible for SEO and PPC marketing for companies and organizations, there’s one thing you can say about Google: That search engine knows how to keep you on your toes.
As if the changes that came with Panda and Penguin updates weren’t enough, we now have a whole new algorithm called Hummingbird to worry about. Shifting Google’s algo focus from keywords to relevant content and semantic technology will surely affect your decisions about where to spend your advertising dollars in 2014.
Death knell or ad boon?
As companies plan next year’s marketing budgets, some might question whether PPC is withering on the vine, and therefore fewer dollars need to be allocated there. According to Forbes‘ contributor Drew Hendricks, the opposite might be true.
In his opinion, there’s no need to lock up the PPC toolkit just yet. “Businesses shouldn’t move so quickly . . . Google changes are designed to stop those who were trying to work the system . . . keywords and backlinks can still improve search results . . . and PPC seems to be just as popular as ever with marketers,” he notes.
PPC expenditures in 2014
In the latest “The 2013 State of Paid Search” report, 72 percent of the companies sampled are planning to spend more on PPC in 2014. That’s up from 70 percent who increased spending in 2013.
Google Adwords was by far the area where firms said they will budget the most money in the “paid search” category, followed by Bing Ads, display networks, and Facebook.
Mobile advertising is a new frontier, particularly since mobile search is expected to surpass desktop search in the next couple of years, according to many analysts. Anush Alexander at Venture Beat believes ad dollars will shift from traditional web marketing channels specifically to mobile pay-per-click ads.
The rational behind this transition is financially sound. “As a relatively new technology, mobile PPC ads are starkly underpriced. Compared to desktop and tablet pay-per-click ads, smartphone PPC ads yield the highest click-through rate (4.12 percent) and the lowest cost ($0.53),” notes Alexander.
And it’s also been determined that mobile clicks sell below their actual value while generating higher conversions.
Bing’s PPC platforms
2014 may be “the” year for Bing. In 2013, we saw Bing ads release more flexible ways to bid across their PPC platforms than ever in the past.
This shift has been augmented by the ability of buyers to purchase by either a “bid strategy” or modifying a bid based on a percentage. The ability to bid at different rates for locations, time of day, or device should improve efficiencies.
Also, many of these options are automated, so advertisers don’t have to be hands-on with their daily bid strategies.
Outsource search engine marketing
Depending on the size of your company and the budget allocated for PPC, you might want to consider hiring professionals to manage your search engine marketing and PPC campaigns. Sage Island Marketing has years of experience managing campaigns for clients such as Habitat for Humanity, Griffin Motion, and SeaDek.
Because PPC is a proven marketing strategy and an effective revenue producer, it’s smart to select an agency like Sage Island to get the most out of your advertising dollars. Managing campaigns to drive the most traffic to your websites requires constant supervision and 24/7 attention to detail to obtain optimal results. A third-party agency can manage these efforts with great efficiencies in labor and costs.
It appears that PPC is still a valid strategy where many firms intend to focus their ad spending in 2014. So maybe you will, too. Having moved past the turbulent financial crisis we were in a few years ago, the economic results for 2013 and predictions for 2014 are showing marked improvement.
The smart money is saying that investing more in PPC next year is the best bet for improving traffic and revenues going forward.