Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Google introduces new AdWords formats

In another announcement on the Google blog, the company has introduced some new AdWords formats for clients, at this stage limited to the US market. The article includes a number of examples of how additional content will be displayed for some advertisers within the AdWords format - this can encompass videos, additional links into a large website, location maps and product information (prices and images).

If these formats prove successful it will create new opportunities for advertisers as well as potentially a higher income for Google from certain adverts. It will also start to change the visual format and space taken up by the Sponsored Results on Google, as well as increase the clickthrough rates from these adverts.

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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Google to acquire Teracent

Google has announced the acquisition of Teracent, a US-based technology company that can generate and customize the different creative elements of online adverts, automatically choosing new elements in real-time, by machine-learning algorithms.

This new technology is designed to improve conversions by picking and choosing from literally thousands of creative elements of a display ad in real-time — thereby tweaking images, products, messages or colors in response to activity data. These elements can be optimized depending on factors like geographic location, language, the content of the website, the time of day or the past performance of different ads.

As the importance of conversion rate and ROI increases in a crowded webspace, the new technology from Teracent can help advertisers get better results from their display ad campaigns which will also enable publishers to make more money from their ad space and delivers web users better ads and more ad-funded web content.

As is usual with Google's acquisitions, the company has identified a technology developer with a huge potential in the future and one that will complement Google's services, as well as benefit fro the additional investment and programming input. Google intends to make the technology available as soon as possible to display advertising clients, such as those using the Google Content Network and through the DoubleClick network.

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Friday, 20 November 2009

Google reveals new Chrome operating system

Google has made public its much-anticipated operating system, known as Chrome OS. Designed to power computers in the future, this new OS will eventually be taking on Microsoft's core product head-on, such as the recently launched Windows 7 system. Google's blog made a brief announcement about the new operating system and the launch in the US has been widely covered by the global media, including the BBC website.

The Google operating system will be a free and open source system, initially aimed at low-cost netbooks. Being open source, it allows contributors to help develop the product and it intends to remove many of the features of a traditional program. Most notably, all applications are designed to run in a web browser and all the user's data is stored on Google's servers, so that effectively most PC or laptop users will be working 'in the cloud' with limited software or content held on their own hardware.

Google has said that the first computers running the system would be available before the end of 2010 and had first announced its intention to build an operating system in July this year. The new system has been designed around the Google Chrome browser which was released in 2008 and now is reported to have 40m regular users. All programs or applications - such as word processing and e-mail - will run in different tabs in the browser and the aim is to improve the speed of work, although much of this will also be dependent on access to the Internet.

Any documents and files created on a computer would be automatically synced and saved on Google's servers. As a result, anybody who lost their computer would be able to buy a new machine and easily recover all their data. However, although Google expects most tasks to be done online, it will also offer the capability for users to access some programs when there is no connection.

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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Consumer views of online pay models

With much talk recently around the future of newspapers and online content, and whether these should now starting charging users for access, Media Week has reported on some new research by Forrester in the US which found that while a minority of consumers is willing to pay for online content, not all pay models are considered equal.

Using a mail survey of just over 4,700 consumers, the responses showed that 80% said they wouldn't pay for access to online content if the publisher erects a pay wall. Then 8% of respondents said they preferred an online subscription, with the same percentage also preferring a multichannel subscription. Only 3% said they would prefer to use micropayments, which is one of the options being considered by publishers.

These results are therefore not good reading for publishers and suggest that they should keep offering free, ad-supported products to the vast majority of users who won't otherwise pay for the content, while giving those who will pay a choice of payment methods for access to premium products.

How people would want to access content online also varied, with 37% favouring a website, while smaller percentages preferred portable devices like mobile phones (14%), laptops and netbooks (11%). Another 10% favoured getting their former print publication via an emailed PDF and only 3% favored e-readers like the Kindle, although this reflects the early reach and acceptance of this new technology. Notably, 44% said they preferred none of those options!

When it comes to predicting who will pay for online content, the study found that people who are college-educated, 'technology optimists' and higher earners are more likely to pay for online newspapers than those who are unwilling to pay. Age was barely a factor in willingness to pay, however, but this did become a bigger factor amongst those who are willing to pay for online magazines.

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Monday, 16 November 2009

Online video ads perform better next to content

MediaWeek reports on a new survey from third-party ad server Eyeblaster, which suggests that online video ads placed on social networking and gaming sites don’t have the same success in terms of 'user engagement' compared to content sites and email.

The company examined data from thousands of campaigns that had been run for brands over the past year and specifically focused on two key metrics - Dwell Rate (which measures the proportion of ad impressions that resulted in a user engaging with an ad, such as mousing over it or clicking on it) and Dwell Time (which measure the amount of time users spend engaged with a particular ad).

The results showed that overall, online video increased both Dwell Rate and Dwell Time when compared to other forms of online advertising, but also that online video tends to perform better when adjacent to content or email than in social media and gaming environments. This probably reflects the reason for the different types of site usage in the first place, although video sharing is becoming a more important component of these type of sites.

Eyeblaster found that people tended to browse social networks really quickly and so auto start video ads often didn't have a chance to actually start, plus people have few opportunities to stop and linger like they do on content sites due to the different browsing habits on the social networking or gaming sites.

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Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Google buys AdMob for US$750m

As reported widely in the press, Google has acquired a US mobile display advertising company, AdMob, for US$750m. According to Search Engine Land, the acquisition gives Google access to AdMob's 15,000-plus mobile websites and applications which will complement Google's own platform for AdSense on Mobile devices.

This acquisition also puts Google in a stronger position within the mobile display advertising market, which is one that is clearly seen to have big growth potential over the coming years. It also gives Google access to a great deal of experience and sophistication in the sector that it didn't previously have.

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Monday, 9 November 2009

New IAB Australia figures show continued growth in Internet advertising

The latest quarterly figures on Internet advertising in Australia have just been released by IAB Australia and they show that the market has recorded continued growth during the tough economic period. The total spend for the latest quarterly period, ending 30th September, reached $466 million, the highest total recorded to date.

The new Online Advertising Expenditure Report (OAER) has been compiled for the IAB by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as usual, using available data or estimates of advertising spend in the period covered. Although the latest quarterly figures have reached new highs, the year-on-year growth against the same period in 2008 was only up by 3%.

The Search and Directories sector, which is dominated by Google AdWords, is continuing to show healthy growth, despite actual figures from Google being unavailable, so the trend is largely based on market estimates. In total, this sector accounted for 51% of the total online advertising market in Q3 of 2009, and an increase of 12% on the same period a year ago. General Display accounted for 26% of the market and Classifieds 23%, although both of these sectors showed a decline in value compared to the same period a year ago, down 3.8% and 5% respectively.

For the first time, the latest report also captured the online advertising expenditure within the General Display category for the specific media of video, email, CPM (cost per thousand, often referred to as ‘brand’) as well as direct response (often referred to as ‘performance’) advertising. Online video advertising which represented 4% of the General Display category, is on par with figures seen in the US and UK, and is expected to increase sharply in future quarters. Email advertising was 6.5% of General Display whilst CPM advertising (mostly banner advertising) made up 75% of the category, with only 22% reported for response and 3% for a hybrid classification that combines these two forms of advertising.

Overall the online advertising industry is continuing to show healthy growth compared to recent declines of other advertising markets in Australia, so that the online share of the total market of the $13 billion Australian advertising industry continues to grow. However, this continued growth, although slowing against the previous year, continues to come from search advertising sector and particularly Google AdWords in Australia, as more and more companies enter this market to promote their businesses through targeted search marketing.

A spokesman for IAB Australia said that "With continued industry developments in online audience measurement, research demonstrating the effectiveness of online advertising in influencing consumers' purchasing decisions and behaviours, and maturing self-regulatory standards and best practice guidelines, online is now a trusted, core and essential component of effective marketing communications."

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Monday, 2 November 2009

Web marketing newsletter published for November

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

This month's edition looks at the new deal that Twitter has recently signed with Microsoft and Google to incorporate its 'real time' feeds into their search engine results. It also reviews Google's recent launch of Place Pages for Google Maps which gives much more comprehensive information about a location. Finally this month, the newsletter considers the new Intelligence tool and other enhanced features that Google has added to their Analytics 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 regular newsletter you can see the archive by date or by subject.

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