The Decline of Search and Its Impact on Digital Marketing

The Decline of Search and Its Impact on Digital Marketing Published June 2016 Analyst: Hollis Thomases


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Search marketing – the combination of both paid and organic search visibility that in marketing vernacular has just been shortened to “Search” – has long been the grand poobah of digital marketing. Common sense dictated that if a company marketed a product or service for which there was already some demand, the company needed to master Search. Of course, travel represents one of those categories where people do a lot of research, and therefore industry marketers have traditionally relied heavily on Search strategies to lead prospects down the conversion funnel.

This paper discusses the historical importance of Search and the various ways it has served the travel industry. It reviews data points and recent observable changes in Search data, and explores the implications behind these changes. Lastly, it examines indicators that Search’s dominance could be slipping and the reasons why, and what travel marketers should do to adapt their digital marketing strategies to keep ahead of these changing times.

  • Introduction
  • Search-Related User Behavior
  • Search, by the Numbers
  • The Eroding Search Stronghold
    • Reliance on Consumer Reviews
    • Social Sharing and Aspiration
    • Disruptor Chic
    • The Advent of Apps and Shift to Mobile
    • Has Google Shot Its Own Foot?
  • The Future of Search
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