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As if search isn’t complicated enough already, in the near future, marketers will have to gain greater understanding of search’s role in cross-channel retailing. “A recent study showed that 92% of search conversions take place offline,” Marckini says. “Another way of looking at that is that a mere 8% of searches converted at anybody’s web site.” Retailers will come to understand that and will take it into account when they are crafting search campaigns, he says. “2006 will be the year of the cross-channel conversion,” he says. “Search marketers will be finding new and innovative ways to connect to the offline experience.”
Online retailers’ perspective will also continue to widen as to what constitutes a successful search campaign, Williams says. “We’re seeing a lot more window shopping online than we’ve seen before,” he says. “So we’re seeing a lot more clicking and fewer conversions. It will be very important to add a lifetime value measurement to the back end to get a better understanding of the true value of clicks.”
There are many ideas of what the next 12 months will hold. But one thing seems certain: The market won’t get any simpler.