Travel companies could be at the forefront of a major shift in the world of search engine marketing this year as traditional bidding becomes less relevant and MSN enters the market.
Chief executive of search marketing company Greenlight, Warren Cowan, said the existing use of bid management – where companies attempt to achieve a high placing on sponsored listings – could find itself phased out and replaced with “search management”.
Search engines like Google are starting to recognise the “quality” of pay-per-click advertising, based on the actual content and its relevancy, Cowan said.
It is thought Google and others are slowly creating PPC systems that will use the content-rich formula of natural search to produce listings that are much more applicable to consumer.
Cowan said the outcome of this shift in strategy will mean the industry will have to re-examine how it uses PPC advertising, especially once the use of “long tails” of keywords becomes more widespread.
“Travel companies will have to get a lot smarter in the way they do pay-per-click advertising,” he said. “To make good use of the long tail, they will have to make good use of ad copy structure.”
In the meantime it is believed the arrival of MSN Ad Center, Microsoft’s long-awaited search and PPC system, which is now rumoured to be ready for a UK launch by the end of August, could trigger a new round of developments in the search engine arena.
Ad Center is expected to use demographic targeting, based on IP addresses and also MSN Passport details, to produce relevant PPC sponsored listings during search results.