As reported by CampaignAsia, according to a recent survey on advertising spending projections by the Hong Kong Advertisers Association (an organization sorely in need of a new website, I might add) and Nielsen, “forty-two per cent of advertisers indicated they will increase advertising spending in 2014, with internet advertising accounting for much of the growth.”
Curiously, however, these advertisers have their priorities mixed up as they plan to increase spending on the areas of online marketing that generate the lowest returns on investment. Budget allocations were as follows: “Internet display ads (8 per cent), social media (8 per cent), paid search (3 per cent) and search engine optimization (2 per cent).” While I understand why this happens (predictability, comfort, low tolerance for risk) it means there is an opportunity for those brands that choose to focus on SEO first, and other channels as secondary. While I believe all forms of online marketing are great, SEO is where our clients consistently see the biggest ROI. To minimize it is to seek security and move with the herd. There’s nothing wrong with that, except it means the brands that do it will gain no advantage over competitors.
How should these marketers be allocating their online marketing budgets? I would recommend they spend the most on SEO by investing in public relations and content marketing. Paid search and social media should come next, with the devil being in the details as far as which one should come first. It needs to be determined on a case by case basis. Display ads in the form of retargeting might be higher priority than other forms of paid search if a company has a good strategy for retargeting, but if they’re talking about other forms of online display advertising then I would put that dead last.