A couple of weeks back I attended an Onrec Conference titled – ‘Recruitment Advertising is Moving Online’. As we all know online ad spend is increasing year on year and is quickly ‘stealing’ spend away from the more established offline channels.

However, in this mad rush marketers must keep a clear head and not lose sight of the new challenges they face in the Web 2.0 era.

According to the IAB the UK recruitment sector leads the market in terms of online ad spend with over £102 million pounds spent in the first half of 2006 (compared to £94 million in the first half of 2005). Of that £102m, Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC) (also known as ‘Paid Search’) accounted for 58% of all money spent on online advertising.

However, this growth in PPC advertising is also driving up the cost per click (CPC) for competitive job related search phrases, which means that marketers are having to re-think their online awareness driving and customer acquisition strategies.

It will be interesting to see how the competitive nature of the PPC landscape impacts the pace of PPC growth in this sector over the next 12 months.

With over 1,100 job boards competing for search engine positions I expect to see more marketers rationalising PPC spend and committing more budget to natural search engine optimisation.

Improving key phrase ROI will also become even more critical, as will investing in a robust web analytics solution to help measure results and evolve the keyword strategy.

PPC may have been the Wild West of online marketing with marketers quickly rushing into Search to chase the pot of gold at the end of the Google rainbow, but in the 2.0 battlefield Search has definitely turned more strategic.

Six months ago ‘the long tail’ would have been an alien term to many traditional marketers, but now I have clients asking: “How can we develop a long tail optimisation strategy?”

This just goes to show how the market is maturing and becoming more sophisticated.