If you have been a search marketer for any length of time, there is no dearth of ‘death of SEO’ and ‘death of PPC’ articles that circulate every three to six months. The latest one I saw alluded to the ‘death of PPC’. The premise behind the article was not due to ROI or the absence of users clicking on the ad – a common theme of other ‘death of PPC’ articles. The article proclaimed the death of PPC due to voice search.
Voice Search refers to using a voice-aided technology to search your phone, emails, text messages and the Internet on a mobile device. The most popular voice search functionality is Apple’s Siri, although the Android devices have had some voice search capability for some time. The thinking is if everyone moves to using voice search, then there will be no need for users to interact with the mobile or desktop web. Therefore, bypassing the very means PPC ads are delivered.
I think the ‘voice search killed PPC’ is slightly premature. Q4 2011 data revealed PPC spend was at one of the highest levels of spend. We are seeing more and more companies add PPC back into their market mix as they see it as a valuable marketing tool.
More importantly, I do not see a big user shift away from the mobile and desktop web searches to warrant the death cry. Mobile search browsing is a top activity on smartphones. And, with the addition of smartphones and tablets, we have not seen the great migration away from desktops, which was predicted. Also, the technology for voice search needs to improve before full adoption would be achieved. I have used both Siri and Android voice technology and they results are sporadic. Often it takes several tries to get the voice technology to recognize your commands.
Thus, I firmly believe PPC will be around for some time to come.