Commentary

The Search Tipping Point In 2015

Spinning TopMarketers will need to create campaigns that help consumers explore, use, and engage with their brands in 2015, not just discover and buy merchandise. This means measuring whether customers do the research and search for information prior to making the purchase. The searches will become part of the customer life-cycle journey.

The idea supporting life-cycle measurement and planning isn't new. Other industries like manufacturing have used the method for years. Now it's search marketing's turn. Media planners will adopt a life-cycle approach because many no longer get an increased return on investment when boosting investments in paid search, per Forrester Research. This is one of Forrester's market predictions for 2015.

Another interesting prediction involves media budgets funding contextual experiences. Forrester analysts believe interactive media investments will "continue to grow as search ad click volumes rise, mobile ad formats advance, and programmatic buying models enable precise targeting online and in limited TV inventory."

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Next year, however, marketers will see a shift to more non-media investments such as content marketing.

The reports highlights Kraft Foods, whose marketers capped out acquisition efforts that get four times better ROI from content marketing than paid advertising. "To engage customers later in their life cycles, JPMorgan Chase invested in staff and operations to improve overall customer experiences and will spend on the content, technology, education, and data needed to create marketing utility," per the Forrester report.

In 2015, search marketers will invest more in search campaigns running on smartphones and tablets compared with desktops, per eMarketer. The caveat points to return on investment. ROI on mobile search is improving, but it will continue to trail desktop search for years to come, until mobile performance measurement -- particularly in relation to the impact on sales in physical stores -- becomes more precise.

For now, Apple's operating system iOS continues to lead mobile traffic share in the U.S., holding a significant lead on Google Android. Piper Jaffray Analyst Gene Munster believes there are three reasons that iOS generates more traffic than Android. While Kantar research estimates that iPhone U.S. market share takes 33, Munster believes iOS users are likely more engaged with their phones daily, compared with Android users -- not just on smartphones, but on tablets too.

Munster's tracking of Quantcast data, which looks at an average of 2 billion unique mobile page views in the U.S. monthly, shows that iOS mobile traffic share rose from 60.6% at the iPhone 6 launch to 61.4% 9 weeks after launch. Android fell from 38.4% to 37.5% during the same period. Other mobile operating systems were unchanged at 1.2% during the same time period. He also sees the gain in iOS mobile traffic share as further evidence that the U.S. iPhone 6 launch is off to a strong start.

Spinning Top photo from Shutterstock

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