Local search operator shortlisted for awards

Local digital marketing agency The Media Image has been shortlisted for one organic search (SEO) and two paid search (PPC) awards by international body UK Search Awards.
This international recognition comes at a time when many industry observers are operating under the assumption that the local digital search industry is several years behind their overseas counterparts.

In September 2013, search engine giant, Google, introduced an algorithm change called Hummingbird and began blocking keyword data from their tool ‘Google Analytics’. This made accurate reporting a challenge for most search companies. In addition, and again in 2013, the search giant also launched its ‘enhanced campaigns’ pay-per-click (PPC) upgrade – making it a year of rigorous adaptation for digital marketers on a global scale.

In the face of this year of change, many search and digital marketing companies folded. Many local agencies were already in the process of merging with larger, international bodies and others began merger processes after these updates occurred.

On the whole, South African search marketing agencies are often considered to be several years behind their overseas equivalents and lacking in experience, but one of the primary reasons for this actually cited by insiders as being related to the lower Internet penetration levels of the local market.

Lower Internet penetration, however, has not slowed all local agencies or businesses. The most successful search campaigns have capitalised on the growth of mobile marketing, display innovations, advanced attribution and measurement systems, as well as advanced marketing or strategically targeted PPC (pay per click) ads.

The statistics show that globally, medium to large businesses have increased their online marketing budget for 2014 and will do so again in 2015 – and South African companies hoping to pull ahead of local competitors are doing the same.

In the face of The Media Image’s nominations for work on Gracewell healthcare, Virgin Active UK and international gaming operator Coral, co-founder and MD Pete Brooke-Sumner had the following to say:

“TMI is very proud of the positive and continual impact we have made on the local search market. Beyond this we are particularly proud of our impact and recognition in the competitive UK market, where we have been short listed for three UK search awards, competing against some of Europe’s top search agencies. We see this as testament to the fact that strong, experienced local agencies like TMI can compete and succeed in established foreign markets.

“We are excited to continue to innovate and drive awareness and growth in both the UK and SA markets.”

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