Search Ads: Is the Little Guy Getting Left Behind?

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 12, 2007

That’s the conclusion of some small and medium-sized online retailers I talked to recently. Andy Beal, whom I quoted in a magazine story this week, takes the trend to its logical end in a new post:

Growth in the paid search space starts to slow as small, medium and large companies start becoming more savvy with their ad spend and other mediums start offering lower CPAs.

Nick Carr doesn’t doubt Google’s sincerity in saying it wants to empower the small fry, nor do I. And I don’t think search ads are even close to exhausting their potential for a wide array of businesses. But I do wonder if the entry of the brand giants in a big way will make them less useful for their original purpose of acquiring customers and getting them to make a purchase—not just to bask in the glow of the company’s brand aura.

Reader Comments

Ramon Ray

January 13, 2007 3:45 PM

Although many small businesses are being pushed out of the online market due to decreasing sales via CPC programs. There is so much they are NOT doing to their own sites like podcasts, rss, blogging, better web sites and more to a) increase profits from EXISTING customers and b) increase traffic from NEW customers. There is SO MUCH they are not doing!

Sites like clickz, wilsonweb and others are full ideas in how to make web sites better - we are JUST beginning.

Ramon Ray, Editor, http://www.smallbiztechnology.com - producer Small Business Summit 2007 - http://www.smallbiztechsummit.com

Matt Martone

January 16, 2007 11:56 AM

We have begun to see employers use search to connect with job seekers. It’s an interesting application of search. Both large and small employers stand to benefit as search can connect them to both, active job seekers looking for jobs and passive seekers looking for career related info.

Jeff Horsager

February 22, 2007 6:24 PM

How small is small? Using features such as geo-targeting, local businesses have an inherent advantage over larger firms. An ad for a local business can get a higher quality score based on relevancy, decreasing the cost of a PPC ad relative to what bigger-businesses are shelling out for a misguided attempt at branding. The nature of search marketing is its highly targeted nature. Large enterprises that just throw money at it without concern as to ROI will soon come to there senses. In addition, ads with qualifiers, like geographic qualifiers, are still relatively inexpensive. A brick and mortar running an ad for a hardware store in Seattle is inherently in the long tail and can therefore still get keyword real estate on the cheap.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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