Go to where the puck is going, not where it is.
I am an SEM guy, so it may seem weird I’m saying SEM is dying. Why would I predict the death of a business I love? I’m not predicting death, but evolution. I’m going to tell you SEO people how to not become obsolete.
Technology giveth, technology taketh away. We’ve gone from taxis to Uber and will go to self-driving cars. Technology is a huge driver of innovation, but also disruption. Could SEMs be next?
SEM continues to change.
CPC (Cost per Click) prices continue to rise. In a way, that’s good for agencies, since we charge a percentage of spend, but it means less profit for clients. Google is very good at eking out every penny from clients.
Declining inventory creates a zero sum game. AdWords Four Pack eliminates right rail ads. Decreases in inventory reduces the number of advertisers who rely heavily on SEM.
SEM market share (spend) is declining. SEM services used to be vital, now they are becoming an afterthought.
There are plenty of SEM experts today. Increasing SEM experts reduces the need for SEM agencies. When there are more people doing a job, the value of the individual expert declines.
Automation is leveling the playing field; it reduces the value of experts.
SEM is less valuable today because it costs more, less inventory on the page, market share is declining, it’s not the only game in town.
Existential question: Why to agencies exist?
There is still a need for agencies, but the nightmare scenario is that people don’t need agencies and just go for what’s cheapest.
The SEM agency is dying; if not dying, it’s becoming commoditized.
How do we avoid becoming a commodity?
- Become an SMB expert (Small and Medium Business expert)
- Go beyond SEM
Google often gives preference to local businesses.
Option #2: Go broad (the “Moat Strategy”)
Enterprise SEM, by itself, is dead. (Enterprise = $100K or more spend per year). Big companies like “one throat to choke”–ie. they only want to work with one agency. So if you just offer SEM at the enterprise level, you’re not in a good place.
Find things around SEM that will create the moat, ex. digital media buying, technology integration, strategy, creative. Give people reasons to work with you on multiple channels.
What if we just became Performance Marketers? “We can do it all for you.” It creates a more seamless experience for clients.
Things on the cutting edge have more value (ex. virtual reality marketing).
We are a Performance Agency. We look at ALL the options for increasing ROI. We allocate our time to give the most profit possible.
Be constantly thinking, ‘what do clients want next?’
What does this mean for individuals?
The SEM expert is not dead yet.
- SEM expertise is still vital.
- SEM still drives great ROI. SEM is still the largest channel online.
- SEM expertise is needed by both in-house teams and agencies.
- Experience matters.
- Complete automation is years away.
- Google continues to expand AdWords into new channels (video, email, mobile, maps, etc.)
Expertise beyond SEM helps with promotions.
It’s always a good idea to future-proof yourself. New channels/tactics always have the greatest need (scarcity/value).
Choose to survive!
Agencies: go small, go broad, or go home. Generic SEM agencies won’t survive.
Stephani Kyle: You’ve got PPC, now what?
I have been in the industry for about 10 years.
What else can you do beyond PPC.
Do you have a form on your site people can fill out?
Data capture is your golden ticket. How can you use it?
Probabilistic vs. deterministic data.
Probabilistic: Small, third-party sample, modeled to scale, temporary cookie
Deterministic: Registered users, 100% consumer activity, persistent IDs
You can create Lookalike Audiences: People who have the same online behavior as a specific person, rather than a generic audience.
Google remarketing + Adwords: Create segments for your audience. Find your best customers; know those you don’t want; easily group custom segments; serve better creative.
Offline data: There is a ton of data out there; you can combine online behavior with offline data–you can buy much of this. Ex. Demographics, geography, CPG daga, voting data, purchases, geo-fencing with credit card data, etc.
Experian, Neustar, Nielsen
A consumer’s entire day is being monitored. You can target how you are going to get in front of the person and the messaging.
Nix silo mass marketing efforts (Radio, Mobile, TV, newspaper, billboard, email…). Make sure everything is communicating and corresponding. Take real people through the consumer buying funnel.
Interaction changes based on customer mindset. Think of the consumer mindset. What are they doing on specific media?
Strategize for success:
Track–Monitor how your consumers interact with your site, online & offline behavior
Segment–Type of consumer, lifestyle, level in buying cycle
Execute–Target specific consumers, build audience based on known consumers, geared toward device type
Three stages to new tech:
- No one cares, no one spends money
- Everyone cares, no one spends money
- No one cares, everyone spends money
Set up Look-Alike audiences.
Before re-targeting, we all got ads for products irrelevant to us.
Facebook now prevents you from getting too granular in your targeting (limits “creepy factor”).