Commentary

Recognizing The Changing Faces Of Search Agencies

Search marketers are finding more often that their responsibilities for campaigns expand into other media such as social, display and video. The agency model continues to change, and along with it methods and best practices. The industry also could see consolidation or companies changing their name to reflect the transition. Here are a few insights that marketers need to know.

The long tail is dead. Long live the wide tail, according to PPC Associates CEO David Rodnitzky. The long tail in search is this notion that you can buy 10 million keywords on Google and pay about 5 cents for them because no one else has bought them. Not true, he said. Google changed the model and killed the long tail. The company did it by becoming very aggressive in broad matching keywords, as well as product listing ads, where keywords don't exist. Google just matches the PLA with their idea of relevant.

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Traditional search engine marketing companies like PPC Associates, Covario, Kenshoo, Rimm-Kaufman Group, The Search Agency and others have found success by expanding services from search to display, social, video, mobile and more.

Covario rolled out the subsidiary Rio SEO. Rimm-Kaufman Group appointed former Havas Worldwide Digital Chairman George Gallate to CEO. Kenshoo added a social division.

PPC Associates works with more than 70 clients managing about $175 million in annual spend, generating 70% year-to-year growth. Many of them rely on the company for more than search marketing. The company's average customers have raised either one or two rounds of venture capital and spend about $100,000 monthly for online marketing. The venture-backed brands want agencies that know how they operate.

Their products change the way people do ordinary things -- and in traditional ways. For example, GoPro developed a video camera for the active lifestyle, which changes the way people think about outdoor activities.

Aside from GoPro, the recent expansion in Chicago and in San Diego will allow the company to reach markets and add to a client lineup that includes 23andMe, OpenTable, Eventbrite, SurveyMonkey, and RentTheRunway.

One of the biggest reasons for this change involves new requirements by brands looking to integrate data across channels, devices and media. The days are numbered when it comes to lack of accountability in the corporate marketing suite, where results are needed to back the thousands or the millions spent on campaigns.

1 comment about "Recognizing The Changing Faces Of Search Agencies".
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  1. Kevin Lee from Didit, August 26, 2013 at 5:05 p.m.

    The evolution of the Google and Bing platforms combined with the surge in social media marketing options (both paid and shared/earned) started the migration for many SEM agencies several years ago. Add to that the fact that display and video marketing join social media a a significant catalyst for consumer search behavior and you have a clear mandate that a great SEM agency can't only be an SEM agency anymore. They must be competent if not expert across the digital media space. Clients have a right to great service across the digital realm, as well as cross-media insights and strategy that can help them win against tough competition.

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