The Rise of Search Engine Marketing

South Africa has a total population of 55.2 million people with an urbanisation rate of 66%-28 million (52%) people utilise the internet in some format, this has increased by 7% since Jan 2016. The rise of digital has seen people utilising it more to access information on a daily basis. Thanks to the internet and globalisation, we are all inter-connected and informed about what is happening around us through desktops, mobile and tablets. Businesses should use this to their advantage in such a way that they leverage on digital trends. Search Marketing is a growing trend in advertising platforms in South Africa. According to Qwerty Digital, 75% of all website traffic comes from mobile, hence mobile responsive websites are a must. This platform enables the business to be able to measure results, be target specific, have ad flexibility and increases their marketing advantage.

1. Measurability

Online advertising enables businesses to be able to measure the performance of the campaign ads based on the business objectives and overall strategy. Campaigns are created in order to answer to the business objectives, that could be to raise awareness for the brand, to increase or to promote your business when launching a new product. All aspects in Search Marketing are measurable, from the number of clicks, the impressions, through to the click-through rate and the number of conversions, depending on the measurements the business has put in place. In addition, campaign managers are able to perform A/B Testing on two or more ads in order to see which ad has more engagement and resonates with the consumer. Therefore, campaign managers need to constantly optimise their ads, improving the keywords and targeting to improve on the results and increase the return on investment.

2. Targeting

As an online campaign manager in order to maximise the ROI, optimising on targeting tools is advantageous. Targeting tools found in Search Marketing are geo-targeting, audience targeting and device targeting. Geo-targeting can be used to target consumers based on where they are, this can be determined through analytics where the campaign managers will be able to identify where the traffic is coming from. As a result, the ads can be optimised for that location. Secondly, we can also look at consumer targeting based on their demographics and interests and as a result the campaigns will be optimised in such a way that they resonate with the consumer. Lastly, device targeting assists the campaign managers to ensure that the website and landing pages that are related to the campaign load quickly and are mobile responsive. There are more ways to specifically target your audience depending on your business goals and strategies to maximise ROI.

3. Cost and Ad Flexibility

The use of Search Marketing has been proven to be more cost effective because it is measurable. The business will only pay for what it deems as important. For example, the marketer can choose to pay per impression, and that is recommended for businesses that want to raise awareness for their brands or the business can be billed per click. Therefore, businesses can always measure the budget spend and use it according to the business objectives. Search marketing enables businesses to advertise at a fixed cost while being able to use various platforms, this also allows them to choose when the want the ads to appear depending on when their desired target audience is online. Furthermore, the ad flexibility is attributed by how relevant the website and landing page is to the consumer searching for your business product or service.

4. Marketing Relevance

Search marketing, in addition to increasing clicks, click through rate and impression, it also increases the businesses market relevance as a means to sustain brand awareness. A big company may have a large budget to spend compared to a small company, however, Google ranks the ads based on relevancy and the website landing page. Therefore, businesses need to constantly optimise their websites and landing pages so that they are always relevant to the consumers online searches.

In conclusion, search marketing is quickly growing in South Africa and, more clients and businesses are showing a greater interest to gain more engagement. There is evidence which suggests that search marketing is able to produce unprecedented campaign results, so long as the campaign is well formulated. As search marketing becomes increasingly important, businesses will need to begin integrating it more fully and strategically with traditional media. It is now accurate to say that the lines between digital and traditional media are becoming increasingly blurred.

• The Nuts ‘n Bolts of Media Planning
• Qwerty Digital: The Digital Landscape of South Africa 2017