What should paid search marketers learn in 2013?

If your world revolves around CPCs, CTRs and CPAs, it’s time for you to add some more arms to your bag of ammunition. In 2013, there is a lot for you to get a foothold in.

1. PLAs: Product Listing Ads or PLAs are product displays that you see on the right hand side of Google’s search results page. The fact that Google purchased BufferBox, a shipping locker startup, in November 2012, shows that it is trying hard to give Amazon tough competition. What does it mean for you as a digital marketer? A signal that Google is going to push PLAs further in the market. PLAs run on feeds. So there is definitely some learning involved in optimizing these campaigns. But it should be on your radar, as according to The Search Agency’s Q4 2012 paid search report, PLAs accounted for 13.6% of total Google spending for advertisers in Q4, a 236% increase from Q3.

2. Facebook advertising: Facebook Graph Search is still a mystery. Well, more or less. But we do know what the basic idea is all about. While for a user, it may mean better search results (if any) in terms of places / things liked by his/her friends, for an advertiser it may mean more targeting options. So ensure you set up an alert to read anything on this front. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open.

3. Mobile / Tablet advertising: This is something you may be doing already as most campaigns nowadays are segmented based on device. However, make sure it does not get a step-motherly treatment. Optimize it differently. Don’t paint it with the same brush that you use for analyzing desktop advertising. The platform is different and its usage is different. So search volume is different and keywords used are different too. For instance, auto-correct is big on mobile considering people dislike typing on mobile. Or CTRs tend to be inflated because of fat finger syndrome. According to The Search Agency’s report, advertiser spend on smartphones and tablets in Q4 represented 15.6% of total spend, a 79% increase YoY. The numbers speak for themselves.

4. Bing advertising: Agreed, advertiser spend on Bing is fairly small as compared to Google. However, Bing is taking small steps towards increasing its spread. As the report says, Bing had a 4% increase in click traffic. So understand the platform inside out.

5. It’s all about RoAS: This isn’t new. You’ve heard it before. But it’s worth reiterating. Clients are typically going to measure your effectiveness based on RoAS or Return on Ad Spend. Focus on that. Show them the hard facts.

Good luck for the year ahead and happy clicking!


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