Staff Writer: Nancy Mann
Several years ago, the IBM Institute for Business Value offered an interesting viewpoint on the state of advertising. In a paper called “The End of Advertising as We Know It,” the think tank declared that Web 2.0 basically changed all the rules in the advertising arena. Turns out, they were right, and SEO specialists have had to continue to adapt their SEO advertising techniques to reflect the times. The Institute cited four major ways that change had influenced the marketing industry: attention, creativity, and measurement and advertising inventories. Let’s examine them one by one.
Look around and you’ll probably agree that the average attention span has dropped considerably in recent years. And now, with the expansion of technology, it’s even easier for consumers to tune out ads on a regular basis. The Institute stated that consumers were “increasingly exercising control of how they view, interact with and filter advertising.” This is even more relevant today, and SEO specialists must keep beating these dwindling attention spans at their own game. One of the most effective ways is by using engagement objects. These applications – including videos, audio files, pictures, and more – can lure a visitor into staying on a web page through engagement, thus capturing their attention. Savvy SEO experts will do what it takes to engage the consumer long enough to positively impact their client’s site.
Next, creativity: due to the nature of the Web, content publishing has become anyone’s game. Whereas content creation used to be solely the product of copy specialists, nowadays anyone can add content provided a site is willing to publish it. For the SEO specialist, this means that creativity has to be applied through user-generated content like personal reviews. The advantage gained is not just keyword density or relevant copy; customer reviews can make or break a brand’s market viability.
Measurement has really come into its own as a result of the demands of a medium where anything and everything is, in fact, measureable. Veteran SEO experts can tell you that measurement hasn’t undergone the same kinds of changes as other web tools; on the contrary, it’s as important as it’s ever been. Instead, SEO has simply adjusted its attention to focus on newer, more critical results, i.e. conversions rather than page views.
And finally, there’s the issue of advertising inventories. Years back, media advertising was an elitist sport. No one was allowed to play except the big guns, and no newcomers were welcome. But as time progressed, this environment was replaced by a more democratic one, and ad space became much more accessible. In similar fashion, consumers have taken a more active role in controlling what ads they want to hear, if any. In response, online advertising has had to recognize the importance of the voluntary audience – the one that goes straight to a search engine if they want to learn more about a product or service. And who’s the biggest fish in the search engine pond? SEO, of course.
Maybe change is good after all…