Perhaps the party is over. According to the Nielsen Company, online advertising growth fell to single digits in the last quarter of 2007 for the first time since 2000, and economic news has been anything but rosy since then. While the time to ring the death knell has still not arrived, marketers should take a good hard look at search to see just how search advertising will evolve in the near future.

An article from internetnews.com asks the question Does Search Advertising Need to Change to Grow? You can read the article at the internetnews website by following this link:

http://www.internetnews.com/search/article.php/3812296/Does+Search+Advertising+Need+to+Change+to+Grow.htm

It analyzes the thoughts of panelists at the Search Engine Strategies Conference from a wide array of industry players. As expected, each defended his own particular niche. A panelist from Google for example claimed that ads that did not receive clicks held an inherent value because consumers remember ads, even if they do not click on them. Marketers on the other hand continued to emphasize measurable results. But for all the clamor, the article makes quite clear that tomorrow’s search ads will be different, although everyone may not get his wish. Search marketing will change on two fronts — branding and merging with other (offline) ad media — and the two go hand in hand. One panelist illustrated this point with a story of a company that succeeded in part two of the equation with a popular video that brought consumers to Youtube in droves. Although the execution of the offline part of the campaign was flawless, the commercial failed to “tie-in” the brand, and viewers searching for the product on the internet ended up on their chief competitor’s website!

Search marketers will be facing many challenges in the future as advertisers demand more bang for their marketing buck. Companies have always stressed results that can be measured and the search engines have come up with more and more sophisticated ways to do this. While on one hand it may be easy to measure clicks and conversions, measuring brand awareness and value from online/offline hybrid campaigns may prove more difficult. And with the age old question, “Is this web campaign worth what I am paying?” still sure to be on advertisers’ minds, are things really changing that much, or is this a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same? And here are few other things that…

I’d like to know:

(1) Do you believe Google’s claim that search ads that do not receive clicks still have some monetary value?

(2) For a couple years now, some experts have been predicting that social networking will overtake search when it comes to online marketing. So far, this has not happened. Do you see social networking as a threat to search with regards to advertising?

(3) Do you know any good or bad examples of internet search branding, or online/offline marketing tie-ins? Please share them with us!