sem-trendsSearch engine marketing is one of the most constantly changing segments of the already fast-paced digital marketing realm. And, while the current popular search engine marketing techniques are constantly shifting and evolving, there are a few trends that stand out as 2013 ticks to a close.

Social Conversation

The concept of creating conversation with ads or using paid search ads is to drive traffic to a social media profile instead of a website. Social extensions or links can help put a human face on the brand as well as provide more dynamic landing page options: It is often a lot easier to update a Facebook page or Twitter account than update a website.

Split Testing Creative

Using SEM to test creative concepts quickly and cost effectively is increasingly common. Because paid ads can be at the top of the sponsored results that very same day, advertisers can immediately judge the effectiveness of their creative messaging on their target audience.

Ad Extensions

The increasing variety of Google ad extensions, such as location, phone, live chat and image, are enhancing the plain text of paid search ads, which allows businesses and brands to take advantage of all the ways their audience can connect with them.

Sponsored Endorsements and Audience Participation

The new Google Sponsored Endorsements and related ad display options are likely to become popular because they provide marketers with more control over the variety and positioning of their ads. They also include their audience’s online activity as a form of social proof or testimonial for their brand.

Big Data

Big Data” is a major buzzword in digital marketing at the moment, but it is not always obvious how search marketers can tap into this increasingly growing fire hose of information. But, the ability to pinpoint the most worthwhile key performance indicators using software and analytics expertise is perhaps the SEM industry’s newest and most valuable skill set.

Real-Time Bidding

SEM professionals have been experimenting with real-time bidding for a while now. Offering SEM pros a way to maximize their cost per click, this flexible tactic is likely to become standard SEM practice in the near future.

Estimated Total Conversions

Perhaps the most compelling of Google’s recent announcements is the Estimated Total Conversions, which allows marketers to track user behavior across platforms. This new data estimates activity from the initial click to follow-up visits via mobile, tablet, other Web browsers and more. This means advertisers who use AdWords and Google Analytics can see all of a consumer’s points of connection with the brand. Clearly, this is valuable information for marketers because they can understand the full journey to conversion — from the first ad impression to the final sale.

In any field, the popular trends shift and change over time. The necessity for quickness in the SEM vertical speeds up the evolutionary pace; however, it requires marketers to constantly be learning, adjusting and optimizing.

Accordingly, it would be wise for anyone who is responsible for search engine marketing to be well acquainted with the aforementioned trends because these tactics, updates and techniques are at the current forefront of the search marketing industry heading into 2014.

Originally published Dec 12, 2013 12:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017

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SEO