Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The future of online search marketing

There have been quite a few online discussions around search and live feed lately. It seems that given the rapid growth of social networking, the multiplication of information sources, search marketing could change dramatically in the near future.
The current scheme of online search marketing is organized around delivering relevance and therefore evolves around content. For marketers it translates into being found when consumers are looking for information related to their offer. Marketers do not control the timing of the delivery and the consumer is acting on the search.
Shifts that are currently taking place could change this and make it all about timing and about marketers finding the consumer:
The volume of the information available is and will continue to grow at a tremendous rate marking it harder to sort through the information.
The quality and relevance of some of the information available will provide marketers with the opportunity to push their content.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is about pushing content ahead of everyone else’s and we can safely assume that the competition for better rankings will intensify fiercely. This pushes every one to produce more content (UGC, dynamic content, blogging, sites updates…) to ensure that the engines “understand” our relevance resulting directly in more content to sort through. The law here is that there will be more content to search and rank everyday than there ever was the day before and we are all fighting for the same amount of attention.
Social Networks
We are exchanging information through our networks and these networks are providing live streams. As more users are adopting Twitter, Facebook…, content flowing through live feeds will multiply even more dramatically.
Multiplication of sources connected to the internet
The addition on all sorts of products and appliances connected to the internet will generate enormous volume of transactional data: when fridges, microwave ovens, and all our household appliances will be connected to the internet through our home wireless networks, information will be exchanged between these appliances and their manufacturers, perhaps between the appliances as well and with other products such as our mobile devices.

This will amount for huge data sets having to be sorted through by search engines and while some information will be totally irrelevant to marketers, some will be, and finding it on time will be the challenge. We can imagine that search marketing’s next stage will then be for marketers to seek the consumer and push our message based on timing, the right timing that is: reaching the consumer when he needs a product or service, whether he is already searching or not, and in some instances whether he’s aware of the need or not.
A freezer enabled with RFID technology could communicate to my I-phone that I am out of frozen fish and update my shopping list. By looking for and finding this information the marketers at Gordons Seafood could sent a coupon to my I-phone while I am at the store.
A similar scheme can be imagined with consumers’ social networks. Indeed, finding consumers that are asking their networks questions about products and services will enable marketer to push their information either directly or via influencers in networks.

Paul Ivans noted during his keynote address at e-pharma last month that channels coming together (e.g. the way I am using wii fit will impact offers I get on my mobile device) provides marketers with the opportunity to extend their offer. Finding who to extend to and when to push the offer will be a big part of what he called the digital connected tissue.

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