2014 SEM Predictions

It’s the end of 2013 as we know it, so without further ado, here are my sage predictions for what SEM will look like in 2014. The predictions are ranked in order of likelihood of occurring, so they get wackier as you go!

1.     Geo-fencing gets hot. In the futuristic world of 2014, you’ll not only be able to run ads based on geography, but based on the type of location as well. Airport, hotel, mall, gym, school – you name it, you’ll be able to combine location and location type.

2.     Google expands PLAs beyond products. The amazing success of PLAs leads Google to announce feed-based ad units for hotels, airfare, credit cards, and dozens of other categories. Goodbye, keywords?

3.     Accenture buys Marin Software. Hungry to grab more dollars from companies looking to combine their data with marketing insight, Accenture plunks down $500 million to gain entry into the world of ad management. (Note, I am a stock holder in Marin, but have absolutely no inside knowledge of such a purchase whatsoever!) You could replace “Marin” with “Kenshoo” here if you want, or replace “Accenture” with “PWC,” for that matter.



4.     DoubleClick bid manager becomes a Facebook PMD. After dipping its toes in the water with FBX in 2013, DBM goes whole hog and offers its clients access to all of Facebook’s inventory.

5.     Outbrain creates a GDN-like interface. The wildly successful but shockingly untargeted native advertising platform launches a beautiful UI that allows SEMs to bid on native advertising placements across the Web based on semantic relevance.

6.     Snapchat unleashes “pay per snap” native advertising. Taco Bell and AXE Deodorant get excited for a few moments. Everyone else yawns.

7.     Google creates a beta SEM product called “Bordered advertising near naturally existing results” ads. The ad unit consists of graphical ads near the organic search results. For short, these are called B.A.N.N.E.R. ads on search.

8.     Apple launches Its own search engine and SEM network. After years of me predicting this to no avail, Apple finally launches “iSearch,” a search engine embedded on all Apple computer and mobile devices. Shortly after the launch, iAds opens up  to the masses with a full competitor to Google and Bing/Yahoo.

9.     Yahoo is acquired by Disney, ABC, ESPN, and Pixar – why not?

10.   America finally wakes up and realizes they have been “scroogled,” switches en masse to Bing. Bill Gates buys Larry and Sergey’s fleet of airplanes.

Don’t call me crazy until the end of next year is done!

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