Escalating keyword prices on Search Engines have become the bane of search marketers everywhere. In fact, Google has reported that by its broadest measure of CPC, which includes its content network, CPC has risen steadily through 2008: The decline in 2009 is entirely attributable to the financial panic and resulting recession. The trend is still upwards in the long run. This price inflation is a direct result of several factors:
- Moderating growth in US search query volume: According to Comscore, while worldwide search query volume grew 46% in 2009, US growth is less than half that, 22%. In addition, again according to Comscore, the US figure is largely unchanged from the year earlier rate of 21%.
- More advertiser dollars are moving from other media to Search, with projections of doubled Search Marketing industry revenue: Forrester estimates US Paid Search Marketing to grow from $15.4 billion in 2009 to $31.6 billion in 2014. When some of this “new money” enters the market, bad spending decisions are inevitably made as experience is slowly gained and strategies adjusted to account for the different medium.
- Search is building more mindshare as the runaway success of Google generates awareness of its platform: According to Neilsen Media Research, the Percent of Time spent in Media versus Percent of Ad Spend in Media is 3.6 for the Internet, and just 0.4 for newspapers, thus showing an over-allocation to newspapers and a similar under-allocation to the Internet. This dramatic imbalance sets up print media for a massive loss of revenue as advertisers find new ways to spend their marketing budgets. In fact, as a sign of things to come, Kantar Media confirms this in a recent study that shows advertising spend in traditional media like TV, newspapers, and radio plunging by 10%, 20%, and 22% in 2009. On the other hand, Internet display grew by 7%.
- Effective keyword selection
- Use of negatives
- Match type refinement
- Demographic targeting
- Geographic targeting, particularly beyond just local