2013 Was A Good Year For Search

Scott Lambert

SearchThe release of fourth-quarter U.S. stats has confirmed that 2013 was a strong year for digital marketing and one that has seen continued growth despite witnessing some significant technological and social changes. The year ended on a high note as, despite a decrease in overall impressions, a 27% rise in ad spending in December lifted the overall spend for the quarter by 12%.

Ad impressions in the fourth quarter were 16% lower than in the same period the previous year but the click-through rate was up an impressive 25%, suggesting that ad targeting is improving significantly and that customers have a strong idea of what they are looking for. The figures also show smartphone search revenue up by 253%. This is an astonishing figure; however, it is not a surprise to those who have been following market trends, as the switch over to this new format is nearing its peak. Interestingly, tablet revenue is only up 82%, suggesting that it is beginning to level off. Ultimately there are only so many potential buyers out there in existing markets, which is why device manufacturers and companies such as Google are so keen on exploring new markets, such as India, at this juncture.

The big news as far as ad style is concerned, where the festive period was especially relevant, is the shift from traditional Pay Per Clicks (PPCs) to Product Listing Ads (PLAs), which was made possible by the likes of Bing and Google restructuring what they offer through their basic promotional services. Adjustments that made these options practical for mobile sales helped to smooth out the device transition. The question initially was whether advertisers would be willing to put in the extra effort necessary to develop and maintain effective PLAs; however, the rewards have obviously made this worthwhile as far as the majority are concerned, and once the initial effort has been made they have potential to make sales management much easier. PLAs have demonstrated particular value for local search, with customers more easily able to make decisions about which local stores to visit.

With PLA click-through spend up 618% compared to the last quarter of 2012, it is well worth making the transition and taking full advantage of what is now available. The chances are that PLA click-throughs will always do better in circumstances where customers are heavily motivated to buy and there are far more opportunities than just the winter holiday season for this, with Valentine’s Day not far away. Now is the time for businesses to think seriously about how this approach can work for them.

Scott Lambert

Written by Scott Lambert

For 35 years, Scott has been at the forefront of digital transformation and how it is effectively applied in businesses and organizations to market, sell, and support customers and members more successfully and cost effectively. Scott is President and Co-Founder of Xcellimark, an award-winning digital marketing agency serving clients throughout the U.S., Canada, Central America, and Germany. Xcellimark helps businesses succeed through the implementation of its unique digital marketing and sales approach specifically designed to meet their specific goals and objectives. Scott’s marketing, sales, and operations experience have included key management positions at industry leaders including AT&T, iXL (now SapientRazorfish), eSchool Solutions (now TalentED), and BellSouth, where he led the product development, marketing efforts, and market launch of BellSouth.net, the second public ISP developed in the U.S. Scott is the author of articles highlighted on leading online publishers such as LinkedIn, Business 2 Community, and he was recently featured by LinkedIn in the Entrepreneur magazine article on “No Time for Marketing? Hire a Freelancer.” His engaging personality and wealth of real-world and business experience make Scott a frequently requested speaker. Some of his engagements include being the featured speaker in a series of Orlando Business Journal seminars on Digital Marketing, speaking at the WSI London conference, and at international conferences in Belize. Scott has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Mississippi and a Master’s of Science in the Management of Technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Scott has been active in global mission efforts and is a board member of Global Teams, a Christian outreach organization. He lives in Winter Springs, FL with his wife Nancy and dog Sadie.

Topics: Local Search

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