The uber-networker David Berkowitz answers our burning questions about search marketing and where it’s headed. Learn why paid search advertising is growing so quickly (hint: the proliferation of small screens is a factor). And what marketers should be doing to maximize this powerful tool. David has been predicting trends in this field long before most of us, and in this episode, he gives us the skinny.
Ruth Stevens: How are you seeing the balance between organic and paid search?
David Berkowitz: Well, one of the biggest things that's changed, and this has been changing quite a bit over the past five or ten years, but it just looks more and more visible every time you go into Google is Google gives more and more prominence to answers which include ads. Google wants to give you what you want. Back when I started out in working with I SEO firms in 2004, there was a lot of focus on how to rank on the first three pages of Google. Two things have happened with that one is that if you're not on the first page, you're essentially invisible for any search. The second is there isn't even such a concept of pages anymore, because you have these tiny mobile screens. There's very little real estate to see results, and far less patience. You have to be on top or close to it or you are basically not there. That means that Google continues to be able to sell the importance of paid search to make sure you’re on that first screen.
Cyndi Greenglass: There used to be a perception that organic search was more credible coming up in the search results than paid searches. Do people still think that way?
David Berkowitz: Google has also made paid search results more useful. If I'm looking for B2B marketing software, then Google allows advertisers, for instance, to be linked to certain pages within their ads. If I’m in a very active buying mode and I want to see case studies, and if there is a sub link to case studies right there associated with the ad then I'm going to be very motivated to click it. Google had in their mission statement to aggregate all the world's information and make it more useful. More than just about anyone else in marketing, Google saw advertising as content or advertising as information – to the point where advertisers would be rewarded, where the best performing ads would rank higher or pay less to be in the same position if your ads were performing better. They were trying to incentivize good behavior. The fact that Google saw ads as content in a way that I don't think most creative studios saw their own ads.
Ruth Stevens: What does this mean for marketers today? Are there search practices that we're not doing, or do we need to change how we think about organic and paid search?
David Berkowitz: Google has that kind of staying power that a rare few have. It's hard to see anything as a major threat to Google in the same way that something can be an existential threat to another company. For instance, YouTube continues to thrive. If we look at a recent pew study that came out, just about everyone is using YouTube. It might change a bit just how much time people spend, but people are still spending an insane amount of time there. But now, there are lots of other ways that people are looking for information, and we saw early signs of this with Instagram in particular. We'll look on Instagram for what looks good at a restaurant, right? A lot of early local businesses on Instagram did very well, putting visual menus there. Same thing with tourist bureaus and places like that. People would start looking and seeing what they want to do in Chicago this week because they are running a marathon, instead of just reviewing like a top ten list on some travel website. Similarly, Amazon was able to capture a lot of that interest where Amazon for many people is the number one place they go for product searches. That’s a threat for how people search on Google because those commercial searches are very valuable. But again, there are just those very few in that rich get richer category, so there can be more than one winner. There just can't be a ton of winners here, but Amazon is an incredibly valuable search tool. YouTube's been incredibly valuable place for searching, and so, with the rise of a few of these other kind of platforms, like if you look at Tik Tok: It's influencing consumer behavior. People do want to know what people they follow are interested in, and they really want a shorter path from seeing some kind of product in action used by someone who, whether or not they call themselves with an influence they're influencing consumed behavior.
Cyndi Greenglass: Some people say that bots and predicted media buying or automated media buying have proliferated ad fraud, and that we, as marketers are complicit in that because we're spending lots of money on bad um search. What is your point of view?
David Berkowitz: There’s always been various kinds of waste in advertising, and that's been true in TV and radio, and before that in print. How many people got the old Sears catalogs when they all delivered to people's mailboxes. There's always been kinds of waste. Now that we have this rise in programmatic, there are more ways to gain the system. It's not in a marketer’s best interest to do anything that isn't delivering some kind of results for them. There are lots of ways to tell what's working now. There are ways to pay more, for instance, for verified impressions, and make sure that that what you're paying for is actually delivered.
Marketing Communications Today presents Horizons, it’s forward-thinking, looking ahead, through the front windshield and beyond, into the marketing future. Join Cyndi and Ruth bi-weekly for new ideas, technologies, tools and strategies that are emerging to help marketers navigate over the marketing horizon.
David Berkowitz is the SVP of Corporate Marketing & Communications at Mediaocean, the mission-critical platform for omnichannel advertising. Prior roles include leading marketing and strategy for video production marketplace Storyhunter, social listening firm Sysomos, Publicis agency MRY, and Dentsu agency 360i. He has contributed more than 600 columns to outlets such as Advertising Age, MediaPost, VentureBeat, and Adweek, and he has spoken at more than 350 events globally. David also founded and runs the 3,000-member Serial Marketers community.
Cyndi W. Greenglass is a founding partner and president at Livingston Strategies, a data-informed, strategic consulting firm that helps clients develop, execute, and measure their customer communications with a close focus on results. Cyndi has razor-sharp strategic skills matched by impeccable on-the-ground savvy and tactical abilities. She is an Adjunct Instructor in the Data Marketing Communications online master's degree program from West Virginia University.
Greenglass has twice been named into the Top 100 Influential BTB Marketers by Crain’s BtoB Magazine and was the 2012 CADM Chicago Direct Marketer of the Year. She is a member of the Board of Advisors for BRAND United and has taught, trained and presented at over 50 conferences throughout the world.
Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, for business-to-business clients. Ruth serves on the boards of directors of the HIMMS Media Group, and the Business Information Industry Association. She is a trustee of Princeton-In-Asia, past chair of the Business-to-Business Council of the DMA, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York.
Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain’s BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She serves as a mentor to fledgling companies at the ERA business accelerator in New York City.
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