According to Borrell Associates, a research firm dedicated to keeping an eye on “tomorrow’s media,” marketers in all industries will be spending 52 percent more on search engine optimization (SEO) by the time 2018 rolls around. Corey Elliott, one of the research directors at Borrell, says that one of every $10 that’s allocated to digital marketing will be earmarked for SEO. While SEO does indeed fall under the umbrella category of “digital services,” it will be a leading niche category that has the potential to attract the most investment dollars.
At the Search Insider Summit on Monday, April 28 2014, Elliott shared his findings. While he noted that not all parts of SEO will grow, the overall trend is towards an SEO explosion. Specifically, he said that email list purchases, general email management, and blog development will plateau—which doesn’t mean these SEO factors are less important. They’re just not the hot topic on the horizon for marketers.
Where SEO Will Grow
So what SEO specialties are gearing up for the biggest growing pains? Local search engine optimization (LSEO) will be the biggest driving force with a forecasted 657 percent spike in application development. Online video production will grow 446 percent, and mobile media management is on deck to grow 610 percent. This means that marketers are focusing on geo-targeting at local levels, answering consumers’ pleas for more images and less text, and everyone is getting on board with mobile readiness as more consumers lean on mobile devices instead of PC desktops.
Elliott estimates that it will take about $708 billion for marketers to design a solid web presence, engage in online ad production and publishing relations, and get online marketing support and consulting, as well as research. He also points out that these numbers are driven by “aggressive” companies who sell high quality SEO services. There are also other companies, such as printing businesses, up-selling their services to include SEO.
It’s not just SEO companies and complementary businesses pushing these numbers up. The algorithms of Google and Bing are making marketers stay on their toes, constantly adjusting their SEO parameters. However, not every aspect of SEO is expected to peak in 2018. According to Elliott, paid search will come to a boiling point in late 2014, and will then decline up to 32 percent by 2018. The reason? More businesses are budgeting for SEO as opposed to paid search.
Advertising and promotions are two separate pieces of the same pie. However, marketers need to keep up with each of these, keep up with algorithms, and stay on top of SEO best practices. The money follows the need, and it’s heading towards a trifecta in the next few years. Geo-targeting, mobility, and video production is where it’s headed—are you ready?