What Might Encryption Mean For Marketing?

Scott Lambert

It has been the biggest mainstream story about the internet this year, but it is only now beginning to have a serious impact on internet marketing. The revelation that the NSA has been spying on internet activity, and possible gaining access to Microsoft and Google’s networks, has seen an increasing switchover to the use of encryption. Google has already encrypted all its search data and now it seems that Bing and other Microsoft search systems are about to follow suit.

Yahoo currently offers encryption for searches on an optional basis, but the fact that it uses Bing for queries means it could end up shifting over to encryption as a default or even mandatory feature if Microsoft does.

How does this affect marketers?

It has a significant impact on access to keyword data. A limited amount of data is available through Google AdWords, but the only way to extract information such as that which search engine optimization techniques relied on in the past is to invest in paid search.

This raises questions as to whether there is also a financial motive behind the changes. If Google stands to profit from nudging more marketers toward paid search, Microsoft has two options: maintain the status quo and thereby encourage marketers to lend their support as it aims to gain a larger share of the market or, as it has nothing to lose by doing so, adopt the same strategy and thus stand a chance of increasing its profits even if its market share stays the same.

What are the alternatives for marketers?

This depends, to an extent, on what everybody else does. If the uptake of paid search by competitors in any given industry is slow, there is no particular disadvantage to be found in disdaining precise keyword data and instead working out what is likely to be getting hits by looking at how different sites and different pages on the same sites rank compared to one another. If the market is too fierce to take a chance on being less precise, it is worth remembering that paid search is not an all or nothing proposition; it is possible to invest in it at a low level and still get access to that useful data.

Microsoft executives will decide this week on what they are going to do about encryption; if it does not come in now, the likelihood is that sooner or later it will. It is time to think seriously about how to handle this.

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: Inbound Marketing

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