Top trends for SEO, PPC and Display advertising in 2013

By Paul Morris
Wow I could write a thesis on this bad boy!

…However I won’t and will keep it short(ish/ well not really after finishing it and looking at the size of it) and sweet(ish)


General 2013 Digital Media Trends

Spend will start to flood from offline to online; in particular from TV to online native advertising. There is a massive disconnect between audience and ad spending and as the dire economic environment continues to bite more brands will invest in creative digital exploits that are more closely tied to defined ROI

Facebook Advertising will evolve. Key digital media themes will include: EdgeRank continuing to dominate its ranking algorithm, RTB Facebook Exchange, Facebook’s own Search Engine & Facebook’s version of Google Adsense. For more info view my Future Trends for Facebook Advertising post

I’m a big proponent of understanding and capitalising on the interplay between online and offline e.g. ROPOShow rooming, QR Codes and Augmented Reality – More companies in 2013 will give a rat’s ass about this interplay and start to invest in it.


Display Advertising 2013 Trends

Online video will start to bite in to TV consumption (something that has not happened to any great degree thus far). With more streaming and more understanding of the consumer, formats such as You Tube True View will become better targeted and better utilised by big brands

If DNT (Do Not Track Header) continues to be adopted by the big players/ enforced by governments/ those already using it become much more popular e.g. Window 8’s IE10 then we will start to experience big issues with retargeting and intelligent display acquisition during 2013.

DSP’s will continue to develop and dominate display ad spend in 2013 however I doubt they be significantly different in design to those seen in 2012

–          Social Media networks are starting to integrate with DSP’s e.g. Facebook’s major new Exchange and more will follow suit so DSP’s become interwoven in to online targeting/ behaviour

–          The only way of justifying mobile DSP’s will be by utilising technology such as

A move from bog standard formats like Skyscraper, MPU and leaderboards to being innovative with sizes like billboard, Wallpaper and Half Page will occur. An immersive display experience will see larger, more interactive canvases that will provide engageee’s with great content in the one place.

Dual Screening continues to infiltrate people’s lives and display advertising (+ ppc advertising for that matter) can form a key part of that interplay

A key KPI for brand display advertising campaigns will be viewable impressions during 2013


Overarching 2013 Search Engine Marketing Trends

New ways of searching such as Augmented reality will still reside in the novelty e.g. the ability to virtually try on clothes via Xbox 360 kinect and Blippar however will be utilised more by big brands. Basically watch out for increasingly cool new ways of shopping (voice, image, Google Goggles, etc) as online and offline shopping continues to blur e.g. Goertz virtual shoes

Last click attribution starts to die and further evolves into intelligent multi click attribution (with real thought as to what model to use) that results in an evolution of strategy pertaining to what companies bid on and what they ‘naturally’ want to rank highly for

PPC will continue to take click/ sale market share from SEO. Google are increasingly rolling out innovations that improve PPC real estate to the detriment of natural search results being seen above the fold.

The Personalised Localised Socialised Semantic Web will be Google’s focus and part of that will be Google trying to shoe horn their social media network into your life i.e. Google+. Google+’s importance to where you appear in the SERPs, for CTR of both natural and paid and, to a lesser degree, Quality Score of paid will result in you having no choice but to at least sit up and take notice of Google+ (particularly when combined with the author tag, Circles, +1’s, etc).


PPC 2013 Trends

Multiple device attribution/ tracking will affect PPC strategy & tactics; particularly if technology such as proves accurate and takes off

…and the above multi device stalking will particularly affect retargeting e.g. GDN and RTB across platform

PPC account managers will utilise more feeds (real time stock, share, weather, price information and currency rates) in collaboration with management by exception tools (hence more clients utilising Marin, doubleclick, tagman, DC Storm et al) for competitive advantage

I’m not seeing a big PPC shake up in terms of the PPC player mix, match types, mental environmental factors filtering into targeting, etc however Google will continue to develop new PPC ads and betas e.g. by extending data capture within Google itself and video ads playable within the SERPS i.e. the web without websites 

With the Q4 2011 amends to quality score (that hiked the importance of the landing page relevance) PPC and CRO (conversion Rate Optimisation) will become better bed fellows or your future Quality Score will suffer

The return of paid inclusion will separate the wheat from the chaff in 2013 and mean big brands/ those with good ROI will make hay whilst the sun shines from Google Shopping


SEO 2013 Trends

Content marketing e.g. SEO advertorials will become more sophisticated and help brands communicate more effectively with consumers at a time when consumers are increasingly tuning out from conventional marketing (and this includes marketing online such as display).

Social SEO (both from a link building and from a semantic and act of socially searching perspective) will continue to grow. However whilst new ways of searching and ranking is cool and all, Google will still rely on good old standard back links as a key ranking metric.

…And in the art of generating links, clients and agencies will increasingly innovate by utilising more big data, interactive infographicsGamification and widgets in the link bait mix.

We will not see a mobile specific SEO algorithm during 2013 (despite my previous protestations!)

…However despite the above statement as more people move to searching on Smartphones and then to within specific verticals e.g. the App Store; mobile SEO will become more prevalent and an art form in its own right.

Intelligent Diversity i.e. SEO chaos theory of varying SEO tactics will be a great way of surviving algorithm updates (and of course engaging in great SEO link bait tactics). Oh and buying links, if done brilliantly, still counts in that diversity mix.


Well that’s it for another year; let’s see how much comes to fruition.