5 Ways the Personal Revolution is Rocking the SEM World

At the K8 Summit last week, Sir Michael Moritz, chairman of Sequoia Capital, gave a compelling keynote on what he calls “The Personal Revolution.”

Essentially, his thesis is that the transformation brought about by the acceleration of bandwidth, storage, and computation over the past 30 years is having a profound impact on an individual’s ability to generate income.

For perspective, Moritz shared that it would have cost $33 million in 1973 to generate the computational power available today in the Samsung Galaxy S4. Think about that for a minute. We’re walking around with $33 million machines in our pockets. Talk about power to the people!

At the center of the personal revolution is “The Data Factory,” a phrase which Moritz uses to describe the wide array of tools available for free (or next-to-free) for people to jumpstart their business endeavors. Examples include LinkedIn and Craigslist for labor, Kickstarter and Indiegogo for money, as well as Amazon and Twitter for global reach.



For the duration of his presentation, Moritz shared example after example of individuals who are capitalizing on the Personal Revolution to build meaningful businesses and generate significant income.

I highly encourage you to review the deck (video will be posted soon!) and get inspired by what’s happening and what’s possible.

In the meantime, here are 5 ways the Personal Revolution is rocking the SEM World:

1. More business competition.

Think about whom your company, or your client’s company, competes with. Now rethink it. Your endemic competitors are no longer the only ones you have to worry about chipping away at your market share.

Moritz provided some great examples of this phenomenon…

Every person with a credit card can create a website similar to yours through Weebly or Amazon Web Services. Every person with an Internet connection can sell products similar to yours through eBay or Etsy. Every person with a manuscript can publish a book through Amazon KDP. Every person with an apartment can accommodate travelers through Airbnb. Every person with an iPhone can collect credit card payments through Square. Every person with a car can be a cabbie thru Uber.

Put simply, you are now competing against every person!

The ramifications of this on your search program are innumerable. How do you select keywords that will associate your brand with the right offerings? How do you write ad copy and create landing pages that will convey your unique selling proposition? I don’t have all the answers but one thing’s for sure… you have to stay nimble and agile. Test and iterate. Test and iterate.

2. More bidding competition.

More business competition means more bidding competition. A new search advertiser is born every minute. For today’s small business, Google is the first dollar spent. And the Yahoo Bing Network is not far behind.

The result is cost-per-click inflation that can only be mitigated by advanced bid optimization and quality score management. Leverage automated search technology platforms to deploy portfolio optimization across your campaigns to achieve business goals independent of one-off keyword rates. Leverage creative optimization partners to improve your ad copy and give yourself a chance to continue competing on the SERPs without raising your bids. Leverage landing page optimization tools to increase relevancy and drive higher conversion metrics.

3. More ways to prove value.

Speaking of conversions, the Personal Revolution gives search marketers a whole new set of activities that can be measured and attributed to define campaign success.

Beyond clicks and sales, we have calls, check-ins, app installs, and many other metrics that are indicative of real business value being created following engagement with search listings. The key for SEM’ers is to track and optimize against these KPIs in the context of overall business goals.

4. Rapid global expansion.

Moritz observed that the Personal Revolution is exploding in regions outside the U.S. Specifically, Russia, Korea, China, and Japan are producing companies that are delivering technological breakthroughs and innovating at a rapid clip.

For search marketers, the imperative to expand internationally and reach connected consumers with serious buying power has never been stronger. Fortunately, the means by which search marketers can expand their programs and reach these buyers has never been stronger. Regional search engines like Yandex, Naver, Baidu and Yahoo! Japan offer great opportunities to penetrate local markets. And advanced SEM technology platforms enable tracking and optimization across these properties.

5. New channels and content opportunities.

In his presentation, Moritz noted that Android now has more than 1 million apps and Apple has more than 900k. Compare that to the IBM 360 that ran 244 applications or the Apple II that did 490. Mobile devices have given marketers tools to connect with customers in myriad ways and locations. Savvy SEM pros know that app usage is just another way that consumers express intent and, therefore, a critical aperture for brand engagement.

Consider YouTube that, per Moritz, generated $4B in advertising in 2012 on the backs of 1-million+ “professional” content creators. Now add in Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Pinterest, Tumblr, and other social networks and content platforms. For SEO ninjas, each of these platforms represents opportunities to seed brand assets and generate visibility.

It’s a brave new world out there and, nothing personal, but everything’s personal now!
1 comment about "5 Ways the Personal Revolution is Rocking the SEM World".
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  1. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, September 19, 2013 at 5:08 a.m.

    Facepalm. Whenever you see comparisons like, "it would have cost $33 million in 1973 to generate the computational power available today in the Samsung Galaxy S4", remember that almost all this amazing computing power is diverted by the needs of flashy graphics, high-level languages, and constantly polling for location and available WiFi etc. Pretty sure I could have done most of the useful stuff on a couple of Apple IIs.

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