Digital marketing is in an interesting space right now. And, so is everyone’s digital marketing budget.
There are a lot of trends and technologies that have been brewing for some time now.
2019 is poised to be the year where these changes in the landscape solidify. Much of this is thanks to a number of new technologies finally reaching the vital level of maturation necessary to be truly impactful influences.
These technologies include things like:
- Machine learning and AI
- Voice search
- Amazon advertising
- Video content
All of these changes mean that digital marketers need to think about how they are spending their budgets. With tax season nearly upon us, Q2 is the perfect time to evaluate how much your organization is investing in digital marketing and where/how that budget is being spent.
This discussion will focus on a number of budget changes that SEOs and digital marketers should consider for this exciting and transformative year.
Change #1: Web SEO Spend Needs To Be Adjusted
Traditional search engine optimization is not as impactful as it once was. The big cause of this is simple saturation. Everyone and their mother, best friend, pet goldfish and Uncle Charlie has a website.
Seriously, there were 1.8 billion websites at the start of 2018. At this point, we’re likely close the 2 billion mark. That’s more than a quarter of the human population.
This means that the Internet is extremely overrun with web pages and content. This makes it very hard to rank for our keywords and achieve top slots on Google and other search engines. Investing time and money into traditional SEO, while still very necessary, just doesn’t yield the returns it once did.
The second reason to pull back on the throttle of traditional SEO is because people are changing how they search. We’re not entering keywords anymore, we’re speaking them into, and at, our devices.
A ComScore report predicted that, by 2020, 50% of searches will be done by voice. Even if this figure is inaccurate or exaggerated, the truth remains unavoidable: voice search and the use of virtual personal assistants is climbing rapidly.
“So, I just adjust my web SEO tactics to match voice search, right?”
Yes and no. There’s certainly tactics that improve voice search optimization on pages, like focusing on long-tail keywords and question-based phrases. The drawback is that there’s no guarantee that Google will pull your site to answer a voice query, even if you’re in the top rank on the SERPs.
Not to mention, the searcher doesn’t even physically see your site, if they are using a screenless device like Alexa. Their virtual assistant simply responds to the query by using your content. This means that they won’t go clicking around your site. They’ll continue on with their day or ask a follow-up question.
The device (and Google) may pull its answer to this new search from an entirely new site and poof, visit over.
Change #2: Content Creation Budget Should Focus On Video
Another reason that traditional SEO is diminishing in importance is because written blog content is beginning to lose traffic in favor of video. This is because more and more search users are using mobile devices, over desktop computers.
Video content is simply more digestible on these smaller viewing screens than reading a long-form blog post. In fact, 70% of YouTube views come from mobile devices.
And, there’s far less saturation. This means there’s a lot of potential for companies trying to attract new customers. While YouTube is certainly buzzing with popularity (it is the second most visited site after Facebook!), it’s not nearly as competitive as you’d think, especially compared to traditional web search pages.
Video is a great content medium for teaching. Google announced in 2018 that it is investing $20 million towards YouTube learning by paying creators that produce educational content on the platform. It may be time to start turning some of those written blogs into how-to videos or lectures!
Change #3: Amazon’s Paid Ad Service Demands Attention
Towards the close of 2018, Amazon became the third largest paid search advertising platform available. Google claims the number one spot, with Facebook in second. Some digital marketing professionals feel that Amazon’s speedy climb to this near-top spot is a sign that they could even pass Facebook on the ladder.
Marketers are keen to tap this new ad service, but that means adjusting budget spend. Search Engine Land surveyed marketers and advertisers, as part of their Amazon Advertising Forecast 2019 study, and found that 80% had plans to increase spend with this new paid ad service.
This may be where we see some of that reduced search spend migrating to. It could also be a signal that marketers will begin cutting back their Google and Facebook paid ads, in place of Amazon’s.
Unfortunately, Amazon’s paid search service is still new and evolving. Its auction-style model means you can spend more than you may on Google or Facebook to get your ad displayed, especially for highly competitive spaces. Because of this and the platforms relative infancy, marketers should approach it with caution. You may want to do some initial testing first, before you invest heavily into these paid ads.
Nonetheless, it cannot be ignored as an important paid search ad service.
Conclusions And Budgeting Time With AI
While there are only three budget changes on our list, these are all huge adjustments that signify big shifts in the digital marketing world.
For SEOs and marketers alike, these changes can feel a bit overwhelming. After all, it’s a shift away from the comfortable ground of long-established tactics, like blog content and traditional web SEO, towards new and unfamiliar territory.
Luckily, automation through machine learning and AI solutions should give digital marketers the time they need to adapt. For example, the Google Ads toolbox now includes responsive search ads.
These AI-powered ads remove a lot of the time-consuming testing of copy and headlines from the equation. This generates free time that can be sent on more pressing tasks, like acclimating to the new environment and learning how to optimize for voice, YouTube and Amazon paid ads.