Monday, 29 June 2009

Google reveals Michael Jackson search queries

The Official Google Blog has revealed the huge volumes of search traffic generated through the search engine worldwide as the rumours of Michael Jackson's death circulated on Thursday afternoon, US time. There was a high initial peak as news started to break, followed by a steady volume of traffic over the following hours, with mobile phone searches also showing a high level of activity.

Google News initially thought they were suffering an automated spam attack due to the sudden increase in search activity, which resulted in the service being taken offline for about 25 minutes.

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Friday, 26 June 2009

Google rolls out new AdWords interface

Google is currently rolling out the new management interface for AdWords advertisers, with some accounts still going through a transition stage, where both the old and new versions can be used, and others now fully converted to the new layout and functionality. There are some clear advantages with the new interface in terms of managing an AdWords campaign, but there are also still teething problems, not least of which is the comparatively slow load times.

Google has been doing a lot to educate and train AdWords advertisers on the new system, with a series of webinars, videos and blog postings, including this latest one as part of their 'New Interface Thursday' series of articles. It will take some time for advertisers to get fully conversant with some of the changes but in the long term, this move will be seen as a good benefit for users to understand and improve their campaign performance.

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Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Yahoo! launches self-serve tool for display advertisers

Advertising Age reports on the new self-serve advertising product launched by Yahoo!. Called 'My Display Ads', this tool is intended to make it easier for local advertisers and existing search advertisers to try more display advertising on the web. This sort of tool is already provided by Google and Facebook, but Yahoo! has the advantage of a large display advertising inventory which it now wants to develop, including linking search advertisers with the benefits of running display ads at the same time to improve conversions.

Advertisers can choose pre-designed creative layouts from more than 800 display ad templates, or they can make their own by using the simple management tool or by uploading new designs. Ads can then be purchased on a cost-per-thousand impression basis or as part of a cost-per-click auction.

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Friday, 12 June 2009

Bing shows early promise

Bloomberg reports that the search share of Microsoft's new search engine, Bing, rose to 11.1% in the first week of June. According to ComScore figures, this increase in the first week in operation was up from the 9.1% share in the US during the previous week. This is probably to be expected with the luanch publicity and advertising campaign as people try it out - no doubt promising news for Microsoft execs, but the real figures will need to be seen over a longer period of time to show that search habits can be changed.

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Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Tips for Online Reputation Management

A timely article by Channel Insider considers the increasing important subject of online reputation management by companies who are facing an ever-increasing array of social media sites where bad reviews or comments can quickly damage a brand's reputation. Resources such as Twitter and Facebook are being used as marketing channels by companies wishing to take advantage of the potentially huge market these services reach, but at the same time they need to be aware of what people are saying about them.

As the author says, it’s important for companies to either have an employee who monitors and manages online reputation issues across all social channels, or that this work is outsourced to a specialist company to regularly monitor for negative commentary. Then, if any is found, action needs to be taken to combat it by researching the situation, deciding what action - if any - is required, and then to tackle the problem in the most effective manner.

In many cases, this can mean dealing with the problem head on and ideally to turn it around to be seen in a positive light. Some key areas to consider when dealing with your online reputation management are outlined, such as not to get defensive, and preferably to pre-empt any potential issues by developing a proactive customer service approach and to promote and share good news stories. This area is becoming more specialised and important for many companies now to help them tackle the social media marketplace.

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Thursday, 4 June 2009

New research shows importance of conversions

New research published in the US has been reported in AdWeek and demonstrates how the Internet is still seen as a powerful direct marketing tool where conversions are far more important than brand building. The survey of top marketers was carried out by Forbes.com and, when asked what measures they used to gauge success, just 31% of respondents said brand building topped the list, and 14% said reach. However, direct marketing metrics scored highly, with around 82% identifying conversions as the leading gauge, 55% said registrations and 51% said clicks.

These attitudes reflected well for search and e-mail marketing compared to display ads and video as the research shows that SEO, pay-per-click ads and e-mail were identified as the most effective means of generating conversions, whereas video and display ads were at the bottom. The article says that the whole area of metrics - which the Internet excels in - should still embrace more traditional brand-based advertising by including more brand-health measures and embracing frequency online, which can drive up perceived costs in a cost-per-impression model.

The research showed that the most common digital marketing approaches were the more 'traditional' e-mail and search optimisation campaigns - used by 74% of respondents - in contrast to the 38% that were using cost per thousand (CPM) campaigns such as display advertising, or the 28% saying they used video ads.

85% of respondents said they were satisfied with their search engine optimisation efforts and 78% were positive about the results from search advertising. Impression-based advertising scored lower, with a 63% satisfaction level and just over 50% were pleased with ad networks, which scored lowest. In terms of future plans, viral marketing, SEO and behavioral targeting were the tactics most frequently identified for budget increases in the next six months.

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Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Microsoft launches new 'Bing' search engine

After some weeks of speculation about the launch date - and name - for Microsoft's new search engine, the new tool, called Bing, has now appeared as the replacement for Live Search. This is undoubtedly a big event for Microsoft and touted as their last chance to really make an impact on Google's search dominance. It's supported by a US$100m advertising campaign that positions the search engine as a 'results' tool and hopes to get Google users to try it out and be impressed.

We will be looking in more detail at Bing in our next newsletter (July 09), but some early reviews from Search Engine Land provide a good background on this new search engine and how it compares to Google's results.

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Monday, 1 June 2009

Web marketing newsletter published for June

The new June issue of the monthly Web Marketing newsletter has been published, covering some of the recent stories on web search and online marketing trends.

This month's edition looks at latest quarterly Internet advertising figures published by IAB Australia, which show continued strong growth in the sector, despite the growing economic pressures on business. It also reviews the new Search Options Panel which has just been introduced by Google to add new filters to their search results. Finally this issue covers the launch of the new Wolfram Alpha search tool and why it isn't trying to be a direct competitor to Google, yet still provides an impressive search service.

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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