In spite of television's long stranglehold on advertising spend, online marketing is about to take the lead. Digital advertising expenses are predicted to reach $103 billion in 2019, which equates to 36 percent of all advertising spending (1). By comparison, TV ad expenses are anticipated to hit $85.8 billion in the same year.
The common consensus among many marketers is that digital advertising has matured to a point where it's longer an experimental strategy. However, there are still lingering questions about proving return on investment with digital channels. Mobile, for instance, is expected to play a much bigger role in marketers' objectives over the next five years – driving 66 percent of growth in digital advertising expenditures – and search engines are likely going to continue to be the most targeted channel.
This is largely because conversion rates stemming from search engine marketing outperform social networks and display ads. In fact, smartphones generate a 6.7 percent conversion rate through search compared to 0.3 percent on social sites and 2.3 percent with display ads. At the same time, click-thru rates for SEM ads are highest among smartphone users. With this in mind, companies should evaluate their existing mobile strategies in relation to SEM.