Can Darrin Stevens Define an Ad Agency

Bethlehem, PA – Exactly what is an Ad Agency?  Is it Darrin Stevens from Bewitched? We have been mulling the definition of Ad Agency / Advertising Agency for the past few years and thought it was worth the discussion.

 Search Marketing and Search Optimization has been somewhat, well very, excluded from the Ad Agency / Marketing Agency area.  We decided to research alittle more into this.  When we search for the definition of Ad Agency we get this from wikipedia.

 An advertising agency or ad agency is a service business dedicated to creating, planning and handling advertising (and sometimes other forms of promotion) for their clients. An ad agency is independent from the client and provides a outside point of view to the effort of selling the client’s products or services. An agency can also handle overall marketing and branding strategies and sales promotions for its clients.  Source : Wikipedia

Well by this definition, Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization are Ad Agencies.  Both go and buy ads across Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing or MSN AdCenter. 

So why are the Ad Agencies so worried about these little mom and pop shops ? By all measures, even the largest SEO / SEM firm is tiny compared to the large Ad Agencies, but the problem is the SEO / SEM firms rate of growth.

In the next few years, SEM is set to overtake Print Media (this however is debated, many already believe it has as early as of 2002-2003 when SEO is factored in, due to the manpower allocated to rewriting copy on sites, metas, mod-rewrites, sitemaps, recreating html versions of flash websites, begging for others to link to your site… the list goes on forever). This factor alone should catch the traditional ad agencies attention.

Yooter InterActive for example has clients such as Primedia (NYSE: PRM) and Allscripts (Nasdaq : MDRX) but it wasn’t their ad agency that provided it.  Those companies sought out SEO themselves (and are happy they have).

Does this mean that Search Engine Marketing has hit mainstream? Yes! But not for the traditional ad agencies,  they are still thinking print ads even as the the floor is being swept under their feet.  The Search Engine Optimization industry has almost hit the breaking point of actually making it into mainstream.  The problem is the larger firms are seriously lagging behind the the SEO aspect of their site, we suspect it’s because the Ad Agencies do not have the in house resources to successfully SEO their clients site.

This is understandable since there in our opinion at most 2-3 dozen true SEO experts out there.  In short, there isn’t enough resources for the Ad Agencies to pick up.

 Every time we login,  we see firms that have 1/10th the marketing budget outrank the larger firms by multiples.  However this smaller firms are far more savvy when it comes to Search Engine Optimization, and they won’t have 1/10th the budget for too long, they will grow at least online dramatically.

It’s a total failure on the Ad Agencies part, a disservice to their client that has far reaching aspects, such as a dismal ROI they are providing to their client in regards to the organic search engine results.

When clients allocate 20,000 or more to a website,  but it does not show up at all in the natural results,  forcing the client to pay another 20,000 in pay per click charges because of the lack of in house skills for SEO.

To make matters worse, a recent study pointed that nearly 80% of the searchers will click on the first organic listing rather than the first paid listing.

In short, because the ad agencies are scared of the search optimization side,  the clients suffer an 80% loss in traffic but increased marketing costs as well as billiable Pay Per Click hours stuffed to the client by the ad agency.

This leads to the question, exactly what side are the traditional ad agencies on?

In our opinion, Darrin Stevens still has what it takes in 2006, because the ad agencies are still stuck in the 1960’s.