More than three-quarters of digital advertisers are now making SEO a priority in their marketing campaigns, according to a new report published last week by WordStream.
The Online Advertising Landscape in 2019 study provides a snapshot of the digital marketing and advertising industry and highlights some of the biggest roadblocks and favoured platforms and channels for brands around the world. The report focuses mainly on smaller enterprises with marketing teams of between one and five people.
As the focus is on SMEs, it is encouraging to see many embracing organic cost-effective marketing channels, such as SEO and content marketing, both of which have surged in popularity during the last 12 months. A sizeable 79% said they will use SEO to grow their business this year, while 60% will leverage the power of articles, blogs and other forms of content to support expansion.
While advertisers have previously zoned in on paid search since it is usually easier to derive an immediate profit, the sentiment has now shifted towards channels capable of driving long-term benefits. Content marketing has been an excellent option for micro and small businesses aiming to deliver returns without investing huge sums of money, and SMEs are now using search engine optimisation alongside it to amplify the success of digital.
“Like content marketing, SEO can be an extremely valuable long-term strategy when done effectively,” WordStream noted in its report. “Kudos to those surveyed for recognizing the importance of balancing short-term results with a long-term strategy for sustainable growth!”
Content marketing and SEO have also become the primary channels overall for small businesses, as less than a third said they would be spending money on event marketing, guerrilla marketing and affinity marketing in 2019. The only other method expected to be as popular is email marketing (66%).
In terms of goals and objectives for the next year, generating a profit is the most important by a considerable margin, but many admit time limitations are holding them back from achieving success. More than a third also admit a lack of resources is a major challenge, though limited expertise is not a problem, with only 12% citing it as an issue.
Google search ads are taking up a notable portion of budgets, as 46% are planning to invest more in this area during the next nine months. However, 44% say they will spend the same amount as they did last year. Instagram is another focus, as almost a third will target the use of more ads on the visually focused social media platform in 2019.
Finally, when asked to rank the importance of marketing strategies, paid search came out on top, which is not surprising for advertisers. However, content marketing is now ranked second ahead of paid social, again suggesting that small enterprises are now investing in content since they are confident of it paying dividends both in the short term and further down the line. Email marketing, displaying ads and shopping-cart management rounded out the top six.