Thursday, 29 October 2009

Google's Promoted Videos available in Australia

In another new Google announcement, this time on the Google Australia blog, the launch of Promoted Videos provides a way for advertisers to place their video on related pages on YouTube and across the web. Like Google AdWords, this new service is an advertising program that anyone can use to help potential customers discover a relevant video.

Promoted Videos will help companies find a relevant audience wherever they are on the web, whether it's searching or watching videos on YouTube or browsing across Google's network of publisher sites. These video campaigns are targeted by keyword and priced on a cost-per-click basis. These campaigns can be purchased and managed directly in Google AdWords, where advertisers can place bids, select where the videos should appear (such as on relevant YouTube search results pages, video watch pages, and Google's publisher network), and set daily spending budgets.

Google's aim is to provide a single destination for the overall Google advertising management tools, as well as giving YouTube advertisers who are new to AdWords the access to additional campaign tools. There are also 'Call-to-Action overlays' in Promoted Videos, whereby advertisers will be able to add a clickable overlay to their videos, allowing them to drive viewers to a website off YouTube. This means that advertisers can track the performance of a video and whether viewers are converting into customers.

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Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Google announces Social Search

The Google blog has announced a new Social Search service, which will be available to Google account users who are logged in when they search Google. With this search option, Google finds relevant public content from a user's friends and contacts and highlights this at the bottom of the search results. Users can also filter their results to see only content from their social circle by clicking "Show options" on the results page and clicking "Social."

Google is collecting these search results from publicly available information on the web and by linking a user's Google profile to their wider social circle of friends and contacts using such sites as Twitter or FriendFeed. The results are then specific to each user and, if Gmail is also used, will display relevant content from 'chat buddies' and other contacts.

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Friday, 23 October 2009

Twitter agrees deals with Bing and Google

The big news for Twitter this week has been the new deals announced with Bing and Google, as the two search engines start competing to add new functionality and issue press releases. This latest news has been covered widely, such as on the BBC website, and the deals will see messages from the 'micro-blogging' service - or tweets - show up in Bing and Google search results almost as soon as they are posted on Twitter.

Microsoft's Bing search engine has moved first to set up a stand-alone Twitter search page accessible from the main site, whereas Google countered the announcement and said its Twitter search service would debut within the next few months. Although some parts of Twitter already show up in some search results they tend to be for individual accounts or messages that have been archived. Both deals will now take a feed of all public Twitter streams to make them searchable almost as soon as they are sent.

The Bing Twitter search page shows the most popular topics mentioned in the 140 character tweets. Visitors to Bing can also search for specific terms and see relevant messages ranked chronologically, as well as the most popular website links referred to from the relevant posts.

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Thursday, 22 October 2009

Google adds mobile tracking to Analytics

As reported by MediaWeek, the recent announcement by Google of new functions within its Analytics stats package Google Analytics included the ability for users to track their visitor traffic to both mobile sites and applications, breaking out the devices being used so that marketers can track digital campaigns in one place, whether through the web or mobile.

Analytics users need to add a piece of code to their mobile sites or applications for Google to collect the stats from all mobile-enabled devices, although it doesn't cover all programming languages yet. Developers can now track the usage of their apps and with the link to Google's Android operating system, these apps can be linked to ad campaigns, with mobile searches reported to be up by 30% year-on-year for the recent quarter.

The mobile-tracking features are part of a broader update to Google Analytics that includes the ability to set and track engagement goals, add customized audience segments, track unique visitors for segments and set "intelligence alerts." With this latter function, Google hopes to automate the process of users having to sift through the data to find key insights. Google's algorithms will comb through analytics information to find interesting trends, such as a surge in traffic from a particular site or an increased bounce rate in a geographical area.

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Monday, 19 October 2009

Google reports record quarterly profit

As reported widely in the press, including by the BBC and The New York Times, Google has reported its highest quarterly profit for July-September, at US$1.64bn, which is up by 27% on the same period last year. At the announcement, Google's management claimed that the Internet advertising market is now coming out of the recessionary period, although it has always performed better than other advertising sectors in terms of annual growth rates.

Google's revenue for the three-month period was $4.38bn, which was well ahead of analysts' expectations of $4.24bn. The company also announced some new initiatives, including sales of electronic books through a new electronic editions service, which would compete with the likes of Amazon and their new Kindle product.

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Friday, 16 October 2009

Highest PPC click costs reach US$100

A report by MediaPost claims that the highest-priced keyword in the US during September was $99.44 per click on Google. This data comes from the AdGooroo Search Engine Advertising Update, which has begun to track the click costs for search terms for the first time. According to their analysis, the term 'mesothelioma' was the highest-selling keyword, which was also sold on Yahoo! for $60.68 per click to get the top ranking position. The search term 'auto insurance comparison' was the highest-cost phrase on the Bing search engine, at $55.20 per click.

Of course, the search engines themselves will know this data but keep the information confidential, and it's not clear how the figures revealed by AdGooroo are obtained, other than by estimates and market feedback. It seems that the term 'mesothelioma' has become highly expensive due to legal firms pursuing new lawsuits related to the asbestos-causing lung cancer.

The report also says that the search engines served up on average between five and six ads per keyword during September. In the US market, Google moved to 5.45 adverts in September 2009, up from 3.06 a year before. Yahoo! dropped to 5.35 from 7.53 and Bing also saw a decrease to 3.10, from 5.12.

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Monday, 12 October 2009

Google trials new search ad pricing

An article by AdAge reports on a test that Google is running in the US for local search advertisers. In an attempt to attract more local advertisers to buy search ads, Google is experimenting with a new type of search advert and pricing system in the San Francisco and San Diego markets.

Google is offering local advertisers (or non-advertisers) a search ad for a flat fee. The fee is set by Google and based on the average that similar businesses are paying for a given keyword in that market. As the article states, the goal is to simplify search advertising for local businesses that may not want to bid on keywords or to set up and optimize a search campaign.

This is a more familiar model for local businesses, such as plumbers, electricians or restaurants, or any local business that has advertised in the Yellow Pages. However, Google is offering an additional option to link the advert to a Google voice number so that advertisers will know which calls are being referred from the search ad. This is something they have tested before and allows small businesses that don't have a website to test search advertising and track the performance of their ad.

These local advert tests come at a time when Google is nearing the end of an extensive review of its search advertising system which has taken place over the last 6 months (and known internally as AdWords 3.0, according to this article).

As part of this revamp, Google is trying to give more relevant results for local searches, which plays into its local strategy. A user who searches for a restaurant, for example, no longer has to specify where they are as this can be determined by their IP address or browser, and relevant local results are returned, along with a map. Although not a perfect model, it could enable Google to vastly expand its search offering to a much wider market.

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Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Mobile Internet usage grows in the US

MediaWeek in the US has reported on the latest research data from Nielsen that shows mobile Internet usage growing exponentially, largely due to the increasing number of 'smartphones' such as the iPhone. However, despite the high level of expectations for this sector, the report says that only a quarter of wireless subscribers logged onto the web via their mobile devices in July.

The Nielsen research says there were 56.9 million mobile web users in the US by July 2009 - up 34% year on year. However, an earlier Nielsen report at the start of 2009 said there are almost 225 million total mobile subscribers in the US, which means that mobile Internet penetration is about 25% of the market and still trailing PC-based web usage.

The demographic profile of the mobile Internet sector shows that teens and seniors are pushing the growth in usage as they enter the market. The article says that Nielsen's data showed a 45% surge in usage amongst teens 13-17, as well as a 67% spike amongst users aged 65 and older. Males still dominate the sector with 53% of the market but the female audience rose by 43% in July, compared to a 26% growth spike amongst men.

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Thursday, 1 October 2009

New web marketing newsletter published for October

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

This month's edition is dominated by Google developments and issues. Firstly it looks at the new Google Sidewiki feature which enables web users to add or review shared comments about any website or web page. It also reviews Google's recent blog posting that confirms the status of the keywords meta tag not being used as a factor for search rankings. Finally this month's issue considers the Filter Manager function in Google's Analytics that allows users to block static and dynamic IP addresses, IP ranges and domains from its report data.

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 regular newsletter you can see the archive by date or by subject.