While the online advertising industry is frantically developing methods to combat banner blindness and adapt display for rapidly diminishing user engagement, little has changed in search engine marketing. Search keeps humming along, taking a healthy share of the marketing budget and delivering reliable results. Of course, it's not all up to the advertisers. Publishers play a huge role in advertising success, and can actually drive the movement to make display advertising more effective. If we look at search sites like Google, Yahoo and Bing, there are several of lessons we can learn.
Brands are unquestionably shifting to "real-time" marketing. For some, this means accelerating from "brand as publisher" to "brand as newsroom." The word "newsroom" conveys the commitment to high-quality storytelling and the urgency required to keep pace with the social landscape.
It's not your grandfather's, or even your dad's, publishing company any more. Publishers are now embracing technology and learning to unleash new solutions that can give them a leg-up on monetizing their audience relationships and contextual value.
I remember when someone first presented the idea of "flag" football to me. My first thought was, "Why?" If I'm not risking a broken bone -- or, more importantly, striking fear in the hearts of others -- what's the point? Where's the excitement if there's no contact? Similarly, a connection is required to make sales happen. However, that connection does not have to be preordained.