I have had the pleasure of writing for Search Insider over the last year and would like to recap some thoughts and ideas from 2010. It's time to make some 2011 resolutions.
1. Think Smart: December is always a tough month for PPC people, as you try to balance making the most out of the holiday season campaigns and keeping one eye on 2011 planning. Seasonality is great for Santa, not so great for the PPC account manager. Try and rest up. 2011 will see SEO, social media, and display departments itching to grab a piece of your budget.
2. Keep an eye on the Bing/Yahoo alliance: Be sure to keep testing and learning to take full advantage of the combined platform. Keep a watch on click-through rates. Make sure you take advantage of potential opportunities and be ready to adjust your media mix appropriately. Look at management of match types and negatives, structure your ad groups to improve quality scores, test creative and maximize conversion.
3. Get Personal: Personalized search means more repeat business is possible. Make sure your ads are fine-tuned and targeted. Speak to your SEO colleagues about personalization and content. Embrace technology that will provide you with data and competitive edge.
4. Go local: Local search is a changing dynamic to keep a close eye on in 2011. Claim your Google Places listing and keep a close eye on the growth of mobile, devices, and usage.
5. Watch Facebook: The rise of social and display advertising presents an opportunity for social and display markets to grow alongside the backbone of search. Facebook will be a challenge to the search engines. Keep a close eye and be prepared for change.
6. Balance integrated and standalone social media efforts: Among our U.S.-based clients, the primary use of Facebook to date has been for a broader social media strategy. Facebook can be used as a branding and performance marketing vehicle. Make sure you look to balance spend on social media branding and performance-led efforts.
7. Make the most of your data: Make sure you embrace new technologies that help you measure, attribute, and optimize performance media spend. The marketplace is getting more complex, not less. Just as important is what service technology platforms offer you to enable you to understand the products, market, and technology around them. Retargeting is a key growth area -- especially when used with biddable display.
8. Attribute spend across all media channels: Understanding how display, email, social, affiliate, organic search and paid search marketing affect each phase of the customer purchase decision process is critical to maximizing overall digital marketing performance. Make the move away from last click and keep a clear focus on conversion.
9. Talk to your display colleagues: With the rise of real-time bidding, demand-side platforms, and audience targeting for display, search and display are more alike than ever before. Search and display will soon be part of integrated "biddable' media teams that work together to maximize marketing ROI. Make sure you are part of this.
10. Purchase performance media: Performance display, paid search and Facebook ads will be managed and optimized by the same team within a majority of agencies and businesses in 2011. Use this opportunity to take search to the next level and expand your skill set, and evaluate platforms that allow you to purchase this media holistically.
11. Embrace innovation: Ensure the way you innovate is controlled and led carefully by technical, product, and market specialists. Don't lose focus on your core competencies. However, in 2011, do embrace innovation and become more involved in the new technologies that help you measure, attribute, and optimize all performance media spend.