Search Engine Marketing in Australia - 2008 and Beyond

Sunday, 24 February 2008

2008 is full of promises for the search marketing industry in Australia. To discuss these challenges, AIMIA hosted a conference,which gathered a panel of search marketing experts including:

  • Willie Pang, Head of Yahoo Search Marketing

  • Robbie Hills, MD of 24/7 Real Media

  • Karim Temsamani, GM of Google Australia

  • Peter Crowe, CEO Life Events Media

Search Engine Marketing as an effective driver of sales

Nothing new about that, but the entire panel strongly expressed the effectiveness of search engine marketing as a driver of sales. Robbie Hills emphasises the impact of search on FMCG sales: Out of 163 Million consumers, 71 Millions comes from search and 72% of online consumers reach a website (and buy) using search.

Search Engine Marketing for Branding

According to the panel, search engine marketing will have more an more importance for branding. Search Engines are becoming more and more content-rich and user friendly. Universal Search is now integrating video, images in the search results pages, which offer better opportunities to work on the brand experience.

Search Engine Marketing complements traditional marketing activities

All experts stressed the importance of intergrating search engine marketing into marketing plans. According to Willie Pang, 'Search Engine Marketing is the bridge between online and offline".
Offline and Online advertising are complementary and should be treated accordingly; 67% of online consumers are directed to search engine by exposure to offline media and 40% of consumer watch TV while surfing the internet.

Willie Pang illustrated the implementation of this concept with the example of HSBC in Taiwan. As 72% of online consumers do not remember URLs in a TV ad, the bank volontarly redirected the audience to search engines where they are sure to appear.

Karim Temsamani also mentioned the importance of search engine marketing in local business search. Google Maps are and will become more and more helpful to redirect online visitors to a local store. Once again online media and offline media act as a team.

Moving toward a different pricing model...

Peter Crowe also mentioned that search engine marketing will need to move to a different pricing model as the cost per click (CPC) model will soon reach a plateau. The increased competition and CPC inflation will decrease the profitability of paid search. Other pricing models such as Cost per Lead (CPL) or Cost per Actions (CPA) are more likely to emerge as the next alternatives.
Yahoo recognised that they do not provide this option due to a lack of a clear definition, while Google (which provides CPA) stressed that CPA model is still in the early stage.