Thursday, 31 January 2008

Google gains search advertising share

AdWeek reports on new research published by Efficient Frontier, a US search-marketing technology provider, who have tracked more than 17 billion impressions and 270 million clicks on paid search ads during the last quarter of 2007 compared to the same period in 2006.

The results show that Google has increased its share of online search spend as it continues to attract a growing majority of Internet searches - up to 77% from 71% a year earlier. In contrast, Yahoo!'s share dropped from 24% to 17% and Microsoft gained just 1% year-on-year, up to 6%, which indicates that the gap between Google and its rivals continues to grow. The research also showed that total search ad spending increased by 29% for the period with almost 97% of it going to Google.

These figures show that Google is receiving a higher average cost per click for its paid search advertising and although Yahoo!'s new 'Panama' ad system may be closing the monetization gap, there is still some way to go due to Google's dominance of search traffic, which is even more pronounced outside of the US. Microsoft is apparently showing a higher conversion rate on clicks than Google but they still cover a small share of the market which is not that attractive to many advertisers.

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Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Yahoo! offers PPC management guide

Yahoo! Search Marketing have published a guide to setting up and managing PPC campaigns on their 'new' system. Called the Smart Start Guide, this booklet is available to download in PDF format and can provide help to users who may be unfamiliar with Yahoo!'s PPC service and find the interface and options quite daunting.

The guide includes sections on navigating around the account, developing effective keywords, structuring ad groups, writing effective ads, understanding quality score issues, setting effective bid levels and tracking results. There's also a section on troubleshooting techniques, so a useful introduction for new advertisers using this option.

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Friday, 25 January 2008

Google's Content Network tips

Google's 'Inside AdWords' blog has been running a series of postings on advertising tips for the Content Network - the placement of advertising on third-party content pages that match the search term targeting. The latest article links to the earlier postings and also summarises some of the main tips for targeting content network adverts and for tracking and managing the campaigns.

In addition, Google AdWords have recently announced the launch of a new test feature within the content network - demographic targeting. This is a function that Google has been likely to launch since Microsoft first launched their adCenter PPC service that offered this option. Google's problem was that it didn't have easy access to this sort of data (unlike Microsoft's MSN / Hotmail network) but they are now making inroads into this with a limited test in the US and UK at this point.

As another footnote about Google's blog postings, there is another informative piece on their Webmaster blog, summarising recent conference discussions which clarify common questions including the use of sub-domains, underscores v hyphens in page names, keywords in URLs and moving IP address. As always, these postings can be seen as a definitive answer from the Google team and so well worth a read!

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Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Yahoo to integrate Delicious data in search results?

Search Engine Land have reported a test being conducted by Yahoo.com to integrate data from its Del.icio.us social bookmarking site into their search engine results. The article includes some sample screenshots which indicates that a listing in the search results will display the number of users that have bookmarked that site or page on del.icio.us and how the page has been tagged.

Yahoo! have apparently said that the del.icio.us results are not affecting the ranking algorithm at this point but are simply adding an additional layer of information for the user to assess within the site details being ranked and clearly those sites that have been bookmarked by more people could imply that they are a good resource.

The article then goes on to review how Yahoo!'s original directory results have now been relegated within the results and whether it's even worth getting a site listed here anymore. As the web has expanded at a rapid rate, the human-edited directory has become outdated and largely irrelevant with the Yahoo! search service.

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The growth of MySpace

A good article by the New York Times reviews the rapid growth of MySpace into the world's largest social networking site with an estimated monthly user base of 110 million people. MySpace has lost plenty of media coverage to Facebook over the past year but it remains a significant web property and powerful advertising tool. The site was sold to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation for US$580 million in 2005 and is now expected to generate around $800 million in revenue from advertising in 2008.

MySpace certainly faces a big challenge from the rapidly growing Facebook, which is making better use of technology and user applications, plus has a cleaner interface and higher demographic profile. However, with such a global reach and established user base, MySpace remains in a strong position to take advantage of social networking trends over the coming years.

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Monday, 21 January 2008

New startup challenges Google's content targeting

Business Week reports on a German web startup that is challenging Google's search technology to provide better content matching for PPC advertisers. Proximic uses pattern-matching technology to deliver content targeted adverts which, it says, will provide better, more relevant results, than currently seen with Google's AdSense system. And it appears that Yahoo! and eBay believe them, as they have signed a deal to use Proximic's new search technology within their shopping websites.

Yahoo Shopping and eBay's Shopping.com websites will use Proximic's technology and provide the German company with an inventory of 50 million individual product items - each of which could attract a context-specific advert alongside the online content. Google refuses to reveal the total number of content targeted adverts that it handles, although Proximic believe that the Adsense inventory is only around 1 million ads. They therefore claim to be able to handle more adverts but also match them much more effectively, so time will tell whether this business really becomes a lynchpin of an expanding area of search marketing.

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Friday, 18 January 2008

Making money from blog traffic

An article by the Wall Street Journal looks at ways popular blogs can start to 'monetize' - make some income - from their blogs, in ways that go beyond the usual affiliate links and AdSense options. Many of the more established advertising tools are now adding extra features to allow publishers to customize the appearance and placement of adverts on their sites, whereas some are also introducing new options, such as audio or video ads.

The article states that Internet advertising experts believe that the vast majority of blog publishers make less than $10 or $20 a month through advertising and the scale of any revenue from a blog is related to the volumes of traffic that a blog receives (due to marketing, popularity and relevancy), the trustworthiness of the content and how relevant the ads are to the visitors.

The piece also includes details of a new audio advertising service which the providers say has already attracted sign-ups from 25,000 publishers, who can get a 25% commission from the advertisers' charges. However, publishers also need to monitor the potential negative impact of an audio advert playing automatically to their readers and whether this will become an annoyance.

Ads within RSS feeds, or through the use of 'widgets' are also now being offered and tested by publishers who want to make the most from the effort they are putting into their blogs and the traffic that is being generated. Creativity in this field looks set to increase and bloggers are set to benefit, with those publishers who also use advertising options creatively getting a head start of their competitors.

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Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Google provide Sitemaps FAQ

Google's Webmaster blog has just published a number of FAQs on the issue of sitemaps, which can help smooth the indexing of websites on this search engine. These can help to clarify how the sitemaps option should be used and what it can, or can't achieve for a website.

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Monday, 14 January 2008

Microsoft makes a bid for FAST

Yahoo! News reports that Microsoft has made a cash bid to buy the Norwegian enterprise search software company Fast Search And Transfer (FAST) for around US$1.2 billion. As a result, analysts and other search firms have reportedly said that enterprise search - search technology applications for business - has truly arrived as a software category. There is also a belief that further consolidation will probably occur in this sector over the coming months, creating opportunities for niche players.

FAST is apparently recommending to their shareholders that the sale proceeds and, if so, it is expected to be completed by the middle of the year. This is seen as a good move by Microsoft and also a bargain, since FAST has been struggling recently but has a huge amount of technological know-how since the days in the late 1990's when it was a respected search technology and engine (as AllTheWeb).

Overture purchased the search engine part of the business in 2003, just before Yahoo! acquired the Overture business, so that FAST's search engine technology became absorbed into Yahoo!'s own developments in that area. Since then FAST has been developing on its experience of search technology for business and has continued to be a respected player in this market, which has now resulted in Microsoft's approach.

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Thursday, 10 January 2008

First web marketing newsletter for 2008 published

The first monthly issue of our newsletter for 2008 - covering some of the latest stories on web search and marketing trends - has been published. This latest issue includes 5 predictions for the online marketing sector for 2008, plus reviews how accurate the predictions were that were made for 2007 a year ago.

If you want to sign up for future issues of this newsletter, please do so by using the form at the bottom of this page. To view back issues of this newsletter you can see the archive by date or by subject.

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