The industry has a new association – the Paid Search Association – which formally launched yesterday. It describes itself as “the first association focused exclusively on the paid-search industry.”
A mature industry. Upon first glance, it’s a somewhat surprising development given that marketers are increasingly seeking to overcome organizational silos and coordinate campaigns across channels. In addition, paid search is the most successful digital channel by revenue (across mobile and desktop) and quite mature compared to other channels and tactics. Therefore, one would think education about the medium is less necessary or even altogether unnecessary at this point.
PSA’s inaugural president is David Szetela, the CEO of FMB Media. Founding board members include Brad Geddes, Frederick Vallaeys, Amy Bishop, Navah Hopkins, Aaron Levy and other notable search marketers. The organization will be open to both individuals and companies.
Among other resources, PSA currently offers or intends to offer:
- Paid search news and events calendar
- Educational and training resources
- Access to research
- Online discussion and job forums
- Member directory
Filtering and quality control. I asked Szetela in an email, why he thought PSA was needed, given the relatively mature state of the industry. He said, “I think the industry has evolved to the point where individuals can no longer practice all of the various fields of SEM expertise. The PSA is for people whose job is mainly or exclusively paid search PPC advertising management.”
He also said that he thought it was “tough for PPC professionals to stay informed and educated. Resources are scattered, and quality varies widely.”
That sentiment was echoed by board member Brad Geddes, who said in email, “There are many sources of information on the web about paid search. Some are very good and others are either old or rife with errors. Having a central body that is going to point users to great training, education and materials will be one good function of PSA . . . the vetting of information so marketers know who to trust [ ] will be one of the primary educational functions. I’m hopeful that PSA can team up with an organization such as OMCP to also point users in directions that will help them certify their education.”
Career development focus. Geddes also stressed that PSA will be a useful resource for career development for paid search professionals. “Developing one’s career is another goal of PSA. When you look at career development for in-house marketers versus those in an agency, there can be vastly different career prospects. Having a central resource that can help with mentoring, resources, and information on a digital marketing career is a welcome addition to the industry.”
I also asked Szetela why PSA was needed given that SEMPO exists and has been around for many years. He explained, “I think SEMPO is a great organization to serve individuals and companies that have a wide range of responsibilities and service offerings. I’m sure there will be some membership overlap.”
Why we should care. There are tons of blogs, conferences and research reports promoting and dissecting paid search. But what Geddes and Szetela say is true; there’s too much information out there and much of it is uneven. The education and job-development resources will also be useful for people at various stages of their careers.