An interesting report from the Kelsey Group predicts the interactive classified advertising market will grow from its current $3.9Billion spend to over $14.7Billion by 2010. Advancing at a phenomenal 30.5% compounded annual growth rate, the increase in ad-spend will come primarily from traditional media such as newspapers, radio and television. A radical increase in online advertising dollars is not extraordinary news to the search marketing community. We’ve sensed and benefited from this shift in the sensibilities of advertisers for several years now.
What might be a surprise to many search marketers are the exact directions that increased ad-spending is likely to go in. According to the report, much of that money will be focused on highly vertical markets such as home services, home and garden care, health care, legal, finance and auto repair. Because items or inventory from each of these vertical sectors tend to have specific search tools or sections of larger search engines dedicated to them, search results from those categories might soon be found faster amd more easily “off-Google” than at-Google.
To quote search journalist Michelle Greer, “Apparently, some online advertisers are realizing that having ads on the 60th page of a Google keyword search isnâ€™t exactly fruitful.” This is a scenario in which Google becomes its own worst enemy, leading searchers and advertisers to focus their attentions elsewhere.
Somewhere, buried deep in the Metamend website, is a long list of search engines and their characteristics which was compiled between 1998 and 2002. The list has stood neglected for several years after it became apparent that true competition between the major search engines would be limited to Google/Yahoo/Ask and MSN. Somehow, updating information on search tools with less than 0.5% market-share became less important than achieving extraordinary rankings on the Big-4 (now Big-3), with an obvious obsessive emphasis on Google results. (note: Though dated, this is actually a pretty cool web-document and well worth the read for those interested in the history of search marketing)
It may be time to take another look at that list and to start thinking about adding to it. I have a feeling consumers and advertisers are about to push the search industry in a slightly different, more vertical direction.