Forrester Research says that search marketing is poised for “a late-stage renaissance.” The firm, which also expects significant mobile, video and social media advertising growth through 2021, cites a number of factors behind its prediction for search-marketing gains.
Among them, it says that privacy measures — especially the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and ePrivacy regulation in Europe and Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention — make paid search more attractive because it is “relatively less vulnerable” to these measures. The company also cites brand safety as a major issue that’s not a problem in search but has become a major issue with social, traditional display and video advertising.
Forrester also points to Amazon’s growth as a product search engine and as an advertising channel for product sellers. Voice search and virtual assistant growth should also benefit paid search marketing, according to the company, because it’s the ad model perhaps most aligned with consumer behavior and the intended future uses of smart speakers. (I would argue that smart speakers are as much a branding and discovery tool as they are a search vehicle.)
According to the IAB, search advertising in the US led all other categories with $19.1 billion in the first half of 2017. It captured 47 percent of all online ad dollars, which was down from 49 percent in 2016 (though real dollars were up).
The growth of mobile has also propelled search marketing. Mobile ad spending was 54 percent of the first-half ad revenue total ($21.7 billion). Mobile paid search represented roughly $10 billion of that figure.