Are we due for a paid search renaissance?

Consumers’ online behaviour is changing, and the digital marketing industry is changing with it. Gone are the days when SEO and paid search marketing stood alone on the digital marketing mountaintop. Today, a host of other channels, including paid social media advertising, display marketing, and digital video advertising on YouTube and Facebook have staked their claim to a significant chunk of online advertising dollars.

According to Forrester Research, however, paid search may be due for a “late-stage renaissance.”

“We still expect search’s share of digital advertising spending to decline over the next five years,” wrote Forrester Associate Forecast Analyst Brandon Verblow in a recent blog.

“Even as its spending share declines,” he continued, “we believe search will begin to receive more attention – particularly at the device level where the underlying drivers show greater dynamism.”

Verblow lists several factors that Forrester believes will push search back toward prominence, including brand safety concerns on social and video platforms. YouTube and Facebook, of course, bear the brunt of these worries.

Forrester also sees impending privacy restrictions as an opportunity for search to reclaim market share. In particular, Verblow notes that search ads will be “relatively less vulnerable” to restrictions like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and ePrivacy Directive, and Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention on the Safari for mobile.

Finally, the slow but steady rise of voice search could benefit the search advertising industry.

“Forrester expects that the installed base of smart speakers in the US will grow significantly over the next five years – setting the stage for future voice-search-related marketing spending,” Verblow writes. “And many smart-speaker users are interested in using their device for activities such as researching and ordering products, which could provide marketing opportunities.”

As a Premier Google Partner All-Star Agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is an enthusiastic believer in the persevering efficacy of paid search engine marketing. While social media, display, and video marketing all have a role to play, search remains digital marketing’s most reliable channel.