Every day, consumers are evolving. They are growing wiser and seeking information in faster, more convenient ways. Our purpose as search marketers is to put that information at consumers’ fingertips. As a natural reaction to this, the world of paid search has become a wave of continuous change and we owe it to our clients to ride ahead of it.
2016 has thus far been an interesting year; search experts have had to be aware of many new developments and the occasional curve ball (you know who you are, thanks Google!). With new data (and ways to manage it) emerging, certain trends have become clear. Here are a few things you can expect.
Search is Officially a Multi-Device World
According to Google, 40% of people who research on a smartphone go on to eventually buy on a desktop. Additionally, many consumers conduct product searches on their smartphones while they’re in-store. More proof that consumers are using tablets and smartphones as well as desktops to gather information anytime, anywhere.
Mobile Matters, Big Time
Today over 50% of searches worldwide are on mobile devices. While desktop is still relevant and important, the percentage of searches done on desktops is slowly declining. This trend is being reflected in shifts in industry spend: mobile search spending is up 250% from 2014-2016.
Real Estate is More Valuable than Ever
With Google’s new Search Engine Results Page (SERP) layout and its removal of right-hand side ads, there is more competition than ever to appear in positions 1-3, which are above the fold. Recent research shows that the top two paid ads generate the majority of clicks, and there is large drop-off for ads below position 3. This is especially true for mobile devices. Given the user experience and simplified SERP layout, maintaining a position of 2 or higher on mobile devices should be a priority. Ad extensions should also always be present, as paid ad listings get 30.5% more clicks when they include them. Now that SERP real estate is becoming more scarce, it has become more valuable and it pays to take up as much page space as you can.
Google and Bing have both announced a host of new beta and pilot tests lately. From extended mobile ad copy on Google, to video and image extensions on Bing, all of the big players are just trying to keep ahead of the consumers. Opting in to relevant beta tests gives agencies like Harmelin Media the opportunity to partake in first-to-market executions and provides valuable industry learnings to both the search engine companies and their media agency partners. It’s a win-win!
It’s Not Just Google
Though Google has always been thought of as the king of search, Bing and Yahoo Gemini continue to hold a strong presence. While Google holds more overall share (64% versus Bing’s 21% and Gemini’s 12%), it varies based on the device. As of late, Google’s focus has seemed to be more mobile-driven while Bing and Gemini’s have been more geared towards desktop.
So, out with the old (search) and in with the new! Mobile adoption surely isn’t going anywhere and search engines are going to continue to test what works best with the mobile-first consumer. It’s important for marketers to stay on top of these constantly evolving trends, and more importantly, to implement them in a timely manner.