Here at PPC Hero, we are always discussing the future of our industry. This ongoing discussion serves to illuminate the future of our livelihood, but it also serves to keep our clients’ best interests at heart. To perform the best that we possibly can and to remain competitive, we must always be conscious of what is coming down the line!

After reading articles on the subject and repeatedly discussing the topic, we feel that these are the top 3 challenges facing the PPC industry:

  1. Increased Competition in the Paid Search Realm: Competition is what drives a free market. Companies compete to achieve the lowest prices, the latest innovations and the broadest brand awareness. As search engine marketing becomes a viable medium for marketers we’ll see more companies jumping into the PPC pool. The pool will eventually fill to the brim and begin spilling over as we see increased competition and CPCs. However, there are ways to keep afloat as the cannonballs fall: the competition will force you to be innovative with your ads, as well as force you to make sure that your ads are relevant to the user’s query so that the SERPs are of the highest quality and you will be rewarded with lower CPC, which benefits everyone in the end.
  2. Accelerated Industry Evolution: It seems that every search engine is altering their algorithm, revising or adding to their quality score, releasing new tools & features, at an alarming rate. For your average PPC advertiser it is difficult to keep up with the accelerated evolution of search. Of course, we shouldn’t always fear change: most the new tools, reports and interface upgrades within Google and Yahoo have been helpful.

    Change is the name of the game with the search world. Google and MSN’s respective acquisitions of ad delivery/publisher firms in recent months will change how each of those interfaces will run and react to our advertising efforts. Who’s to say that an MSN/Yahoo merger won’t happen down the line? There’s a never ending laundry list of possible mergers, failed start-ups and potential power players when considering PPC search engines.

    While not all of this is bad, these shifts could definitely bring about new challenges and difficulties. For example: determining how best to diversify your PPC efforts across multiple SE’s, learning new methods/tactics for an enhanced content distribution network (Google+DoubleClick), even keeping up with all of the rumors/mergers/deals is a challenge in and of itself. But, in order to be an effective advertiser, as well as generate a positive ROI, you will need to keep up-to-date with this ever-changing industry (which is why you should subscribe to PPC Hero!).

  3. Lack of Qualified Experts: Even Google and Yahoo reps don’t always know how to improve your quality score or how to generate more leads for a certain account. If they don’t know, who does? Who has the golden ticket? It makes us wonder if anyone does, and if it’s ever possible to improve accounts that even Google and/or Yahoo reps can’t improve. Additionally, on more than one occasion, we have called in with problems to the various support centers with questions. It would amaze you how many times we’ve received multiple answers to the same questions. What are we left with then? To remain as educated as possible on the search engine industry and paid search in particular. This is our only defense and our only tool to continue improving our PPC accounts.

While we are fully capable of spitting out opinions and theories all day long, we thought we would pose this question to the forums at Web Master World. Our lone respondent (thanks Shorebreak!) had these further topics to add:

1. Shortage of skilled workers, both on advertiser and agency sides. 2. Overvaluing of PPC ads due to ‘last-click’ ROI models. 3. Lack of R&D on the part of SEM players due to acquisitions.

What do you think are the 3 biggest challenges facing the PPC industry? We’d love to hear what you think and add to our discussion!