Are Brands Exiting An Era Of Search?

Search, which has been a staple for many brands and advertising campaigns, might becoming an “old-school” marketing and advertising media. That’s according to data released in April from Borrell Associates.

The 2019 Benchmarking Local Media’s Digital Revenues report shows the industry might be exiting the era of traditional search-engine dominance.

In 2013, paid search comprised 32% of all digital ad spend. By 2023, paid search will give way to highly targeted display ads, as video formats also become more popular.

"Buying keywords on Google or Bing seems like old-school marketing when you consider how easy it is to reach consumers based on their GPS location, what they clicked on two days ago, or what search terms they typed in this morning,” per the report. “Likewise, buying ads on search-based listings sites such as Craigslist,, and are good bottom-of-the-funnel opportunities to reach buyers but again begin to look 'so 2000s,' compared with other ways to reach active buyers."



Marketers also might want to think of Amazon as the latest disruption, similar to the way Google came into the marketplace during the 2000s and Facebook in 2010.

eMarketer estimates Amazon has become the world’s fourth-largest ad platform and forecasts that in 2019 Amazon will generate $14.03 billion in ad revenues.

Borrell cites numbers from Pivotal Research that estimates Amazon will have $38 billion in annual ad revenue by 2023, becoming the third-largest U.S. advertising company, behind Google and Facebook.

This column was previously published in the Search Insider on April 3, 2019.

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