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Ruminations on Search Advertising for 2012: It lies in our hands

A recent research by Zenith Optomedia predicts internet's share of expenditure in the overall Ad Spend market to rise from 15.9% in 2011 to 21.2% in 2014. Between 2011 and 2014 internet advertising is predicted to account for 52.9% of the growth in total expenditure being the single biggest contributor of new ad dollars to the global market. As the largest segment, paid search will contribute 25.6%, followed by display at 22.6%, with classified at a much lower 4.7%. Display is the fastest-growing segment in internet ad-spend, growing by 18.9% a year. The  study finds that this trend is primarily driven by increased acceptance and penetration of online video, social  media and the emergence of do-it-yourself tools.

While internet advertisement space is becoming mature and consolidating, the other channel of on-line advertisement that is becoming increasingly more crucial and requires a well thought out planning is mobile advertisements. This space has its own challenges and one-size fits all strategy does not work well for mobile advertisements both for ad buyers and sellers not only the likes of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google but also for myriad of app based advertisers/channels. In this post I will focus more on the buyer perspective.

Most of the industries like Travel and leisure, retailers, consumer electronics have established their digital marketing channels across traditional and social medias. But with burgeoning acceptance of mobile and touch driven platforms, they are gearing up for the next mobile driven frontier for consumer connect. Google already predicts anywhere between 12 to 20% of the searches to originate from handheld devices. And there is huge opportunity for the buyers as the competition is less fierce for keywords compared to desktop search which reduces the cost per click and cost per acquisition. With technologies like Geotargeting and click-to-call the effectiveness and efficiency of digital campaigns can improve. This is particularly effective with the research online purchase offline(ROPO) group.

While it is going to be an exiciting new area, buying mobile search without a thought-out strategy can cost brands dearly in click costs and lost opportunities. The usual practice as observed is that mobile as a channel gets gobbled by the overall online search strategy, which invariably results in lower ROI for the campaigns. Besides usage behavior differs significantly. Some of the specific mobile usage patterns that have been noted are low attention spans, multiple input options for search terms, spelling mistakes leading to shorter search terms and presentation of rich content etc. Yahoo research also indicates that mobile search users are, demographically, different from their desktop counterparts - more than a quarter being under 25, versus 15% of desktop and 11% of iPad searchers.

Given mobile search costs are much lower than desktop search, managing it as an independent channel can deliver real direct and idirect cost savings while improving revenue. The usage behavior, time of search, demographics and sensitivities in a mobile search are other parameters that buyers should evaluate to ensure higher ROI while fine tuning the mobile search campaign.

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