Several months ago, while interviewing a few search executives, I began asking whether marketers could bid on keywords that might relate to similar interests or traits. I came up with this idea from my study of ways to build characters for nonfiction books, through a Master's in Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. Little did I know at the time that the strategy known as interest- and trait-based keywords would become a hot topic for marketers. It didn't seem possible after the executives couldn't quite grasp my description of this proposed strategy.
Before my discussion about the topic, I had not read The Search Monitor CEO Lori Weiman's March 2011 article. It describes how advertisers pretty much ignore interest- and trait-based keywords. Interests include hobbies, events, and activities, and traits cover details about products -- such as "stain resistant carpet," where "stain resistant" provides the trait.
Weiman said marketers can miss big opportunities to become more competitive based on these types of keywords -- a topic she plans to talk about at the Search Insider Summit this December in Deer Valley, Park City, Utah. She also plans to discuss obvious dynamic implications of these types of keywords on mobile, because people on their way to or from specific activities tend to run searches while in transit. "These types of keywords move search from a transaction-focused media to a tool used for branding at a low cost," she said.
Adchemy Senior Manager of SEM Ben Russo points to eMarketer stats, which estimate that by 2015, display advertising will surpass growth in search advertising. In 2011, U.S. advertisers will spend more than $14 billion on search ads and more than $12 billion on online display -- up 19.8% and 24.5%, respectively, compared with 2010. By 2015, display will contribute $21.99 billion, compared with $21.53 for search.
Russo suggests marketers are being "held hostage by keywords" that have created an industry-wide complacency in search advertising, and now SEMs must accept the status quo because of constraints on time and resources.
Microsoft also has begun to focus on connecting intent with actions, but not all take that approach -- not yet, anyway. Coconut Headphone's Ted Ives says the supply of available keywords is fixed. He writes that research keywords comprise much of what SEO professionals usually do, using the Google AdWords Keyword Research tool. They select keywords that are high- or medium-volume with less competition, and then work on creating content with links to it that can rank well.
But Ives compares a keyword to a tiny oil well that "will always give up some oil, but only with increasing effort over time. Eventually the keyword becomes too expensive to bother with, so you must move on. But what happens when there are no more keywords to move on to?" -- which brings me back to the point of intent- and interest-based targeting.
Find out more about intent- and interest-based keywords in Deer Valley, Park City, Utah, Dec. 8, 9 and 10. See you there.