As you probably know, the Google AdWords game is becoming increasingly competitive, and increasingly expensive. More and more online brands and businesses want to be found online, and Google is always trying to stay ahead of the curve with delivering the most relevant search results top its users. Another reality online marketers must consider is the importance of paid search to Google’s revenue stream. Someone’s got to pay for all those cool projects & products such as Google Glass, Maps, Google+, driver-less cars, and even the mysterious Google barge. We can only speculate what Google plans to do moving forward, but they certainly changed the face of the SEO business by encrypting search terms back in September with the introduction of the Hummingbird search algorithm. They also pre-loaded Google search apps on Android, something any business would do to deliver a 360-degree experience to the end user. Interestingly, evidence from our own customers suggests that online merchants are seeing a large falloff in organic conversions since the Sept ’13 change. What does this all mean? It’s always time to adapt to the ever-changing Google Adwords reality.

With Google’s leading 67.5% share of organic search and with Bing a distant second at 18.7%, it’s not likely that users are going to swap their search engines anytime soon. The bottom line is if AdWords continues to be Google’s primary revenue driver, and the eCommerce space continues it’s massive growth year-over-year, it’s a good bet that bids will go higher for online merchants. Moreover, if you were Google and had this kind of marketshare, wouldn’t you offer your paying customers slightly improved organic search ranks? Again, we can only speculate, but one would expect this of any business that values its users. Since we can no longer have the same level of insights into which search terms perform and which ones don’t, you might want to consider bidding more for AdWords if you want your sunken SEO costs to pay off.

The bottom line: we are going to have to get used to paying more for traffic, which means every single visit counts. Online merchants will soon tire of paying over and over again for the same visitor before she converts. We’ve identified “revenue per visit” as the next critical key performance indicator in eCommerce, and our customers have been able to track and improve this metric by analyzing their visitor traffic and launching targeted offers campaigns aimed to incentivize conversions.

In the increasingly competitive “pay-to-play” landscape that Google has created, onsite conversion tools that unlock the power of big data with sophisticated visitor segmentation will prevail. Merchants will need to get more aggressive about closing the deal before the visitor gets away, and appealing to a specific visitor’s intent is the best way to improve the online shopping experience. The early days of eCommerce are over. No more messing around.

Written by Fanplayr VP of Operations, Derek Adelman

Email: derek@fanplayr.com

LinkedIn: Derek Adelman