By David DeSimone, Associate Director, Client Solutions, at Varick
Given that Google maintains nearly 90 percent market share in this arena, I sometimes get funny looks when I talk to clients about exploring paid search opportunities beyond Google. “Why would I do that?” they ask. But search is far from a stagnant channel. How people search for information and products will undergo dramatic transformations in the coming 12-18 months. Let’s look at three emerging search trends that warrant close observation.
There are very few areas where Google has lost ground in recent years, but product search is one of them. Amazon’s ascent in the realm of paid search is just getting started. Advertisers should consider the following:
- A brand’s existing keyword list in Google can translate seamlessly to Amazon. After all, people today are searching on Amazon the same way they search on Google—and that means unbranded as well as branded terms.
- From a UI standpoint, Amazon remains in its infancy stage when compared to the buttons and levers Google provides to search advertisers—but that’s going to change. As Amazon’s UI catches up, the level of granularity available to advertisers will become borderline frightening.
- Right now, Amazon’s search capabilities exist at the product level and are confined to its own site. But if Amazon decides to break the wall of user experience by drawing in third-party sources to assist people who doing higher-funnel research, that would be a (very plausible) game-changer for advertisers.
Bing’s Hidden Superpower
With only about 4 percent market share in search, Bing is disregarded by many advertisers today based on its lack of scale. But with 1.3 billion unique monthly visitors and a lucrative U.S. user profile (mostly people between ages 45 and 54, in households that earn more than $100,000 annually), it still warrants attention.
And then there’s Bing’s LinkedIn profile targeting. It’s always been hard for B2B marketers to distinguish professional interest from personal use or research inquiries within search. Bing’s LinkedIn profile targeting, though only in beta, solves for this by overlaying industry, title and company information over known searchers. For the right brands, this could be huge.
Voice’s Tipping Point
I’d be negligent to not mention voice when talking about search trends to watch. This is the area where I field the most questions but, to date, we have not seen brands embrace this medium in the same way they do with keyword targeting. Voice is still very much in test mode. But never underestimate how quickly these things can reach a tipping point. When voice search and shopping hit that point, the immediate spoils will go to the early adopters.
Without a doubt, Google still dominates the world of search. Brands must be there because, well, every other brand is—and therein lies the rub. It’s very difficult to get a leg up in traditional paid search through Google these days; it’s more about maintaining status quo. For those marketers looking for their next true competitive advantage, it can pay—literally—to think beyond Google.