What’s the Future for Image, Online?

    Both the excitement and frustration of the online realm is that no one has really figured it out yet. It keeps evolving – for users, marketers and techs. While brand image seemed so essential in the ’90’s marketplace, in the 2000’s it has been perhaps harder to prove the distinct value of image. An obvious indication of this exists in search marketing. There is no doubt that search engines are heavily used and have been for some time. But the majority of search engine results and marketing communications are textual only.

    We live in a visual world, a physical world full of image. We visit Web sites where valuable real estate is consumed by design. A couple of years ago, the news was all about the growing future of virtual reality such as Second Life, but this buzz seems to have dissipated. Viral video and image however continue to be highly accessed by the public. The point is, image is relevent if not necessary to our lives, yet most of the time we spend in search engines ignores this. So what next?

    A recent article by Josh Dreller on SearchEngineLand.com, “Is Display Catching Up To Search?” grapples with the dilemma (http://searchengineland.com/is-display-catching-up-to-search-31038). It discusses the advancing technologies, value, and targeting and serving capabilities for search display ads. I do wish Dreller gave stats and definitive backing for statements such as “Historically, paid search has had a major leg over the other online channels in terms of positive ROI performance.” But the article does a good job of listing specific technology advancements and gives hope and value to online display advertising.

    Let me know what you think. I’ll continue to contemplate the roles of SEO vs. PPC and the definitions of SEM vs. PPC, while hopelessly seeking an article on the glories of Second Life that isn’t six months old.

     – jakeaull