Thursday, January 18, 2007

Trend for 2007: Offers, not Ads

I always felt a little off using the term "Search Engine Advertising". I'm sure I'm not the only one, since we (far) more frequently discuss "Search Engine Marketing".

The reason that I've avoided using "advertising" is maybe a sign of a desire for purity of definitions. I think the ads that (currently) appear alongside search results are more properly called "offers". That is, they are a specific response to a request for a certain product. They are making an offer. In fact, the whole bidding and pay-for-click system is more suited to making offers than it is to placing an ad. Who wants to pay just to offer something?

I think this is a mindset that is going to become more and more attractive, as we become more and more nimble at making offers that are relevant. Witness today's news in ClickZ about Google filing a patent to create an AdWords-type system to be used in-stores. Any medium that has a high-degree of flexibility is naturally drawn toward this kind of system and this approach. It offers a better chance to generate revenue and it even seems to be almost completely automated.

So what's the result? Well, everywhere there is now an ad should be considered as a target to be moved over to be an offer. Taxi tops, bus stops and radio spots are all near-term likely candidates.
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