MarketingSherpa released an interesting report the other day that details the three top marketing trends they predict for 2006.
They see the search engines jockeying positions in reaching their audience. The comparison is made with the TV networks prior to cable entering the picture. "In the past year, the major search engines have concentrated more on tweaking algorithms and launching new services for marketers than they have on competition between each other. We predict this situation will change as the marketplace matures". Guess they have not noticed the intensity of Bill Gates towards Google or vice a versa.
The second area that they see no change to is the small percentage of SEM funds spent on optimization work. This despite, "the one, undeniable truth of search marketing is that across all major engines organic results ... are better noticed, read and clicked on than the paid listings." Yeah but you still have to pay for the paid listings - there is no way to get them for 'free'.
Drop in popularity and usefullness of press releases will be seen this year is the last prediction. This is based on the increased availablity of the releases at Google News, or in Yahoo and MSN news feeds. It no longer has the freshness and exclusivity so other publishers will not use them as much.
Inside the article were a couple of interesting facts which I am taking at face value coming from such a respected research group. Baidu beats out Google in China 52% to 33% - I knew there was a reason I liked the stock (guess it will bounce again this year).
The other fact is how people jump from search engine to search engine. Though this lack of loyalty has been supported by other reports, this is one I do not agree with. I think a lot of the duplicty is from marketers watching results at various engines. Just as I think the usage numbers are inflated this way also.
Overall some great insight... keep them coming Sherpa!