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Facebook recently announced it has hit the major milestone of 500m users, following hot on the heels of the news that, in the US, the site has overtaken Google for the first time. This is truly remarkable growth for a site that only launched in 2004.
However, can we judge the effectiveness of Google vs Facebook based simply on the size of their respective user bases? Should we be diverting more budget towards Facebook at the expense of search?
Recovery. Confidence. Spending. These are terms that will that will be welcomed by retailers across the world as the global economy inches away from recession. They will now be looking to capitalise on the more optimistic outlook and report more positive results.
We are clearly not out of the woods yet, so all such supporting marketing activities, such as search, need to be justified with accurate measurement. However, to date there has been a fundamental flaw in the way that it is measured and could prove to be a major stumbling block.
It is hard for any marketer to ignore the hype that surrounds social media. Facebook, Twitter, performance display and ad exchanges are bringing opportunities for retailers to generate demand within these massive new channels.
Facebook is probably the most accessible and it’s understandable that retailers are getting excited about its possibilities. We’re looking at a site with more than 400m active users, all of whom can be individually targeted and engaged through Facebook Ads.
Seasons and events in the UK and the world over have developed an increasing importance for brands and marketers in appealing to consumers. One only has to look at the impact of occasions such as Valentine’s Day to see how lucrative an event can be for a brand.
Search offers brands a potentially engaging way to capitalise upon this, which may not be as hard as you think. The initial groundwork of a seasonal paid search campaign must be rooted firmly in the website in question.
Depending on the brand, there are two potential options to pursue...
Forecasting the future of any industry is always going to be tough, let alone attempting to predict the future of a market as complex as paid search. Although leading analysts are already estimating paid search spend will grow significantly this year, how this growth is going to happen is still uncertain.
However, it’s obvious that more money will mean the number of tactics, targeting options and channels available for search marketers will need to grow to make sure search that campaigns can deliver ever-increasing return on investment (ROI).
With this in mind, I expect that the following trends are likely to drive paid search growth throughout the coming year...
When it comes to selling smartphones, it pays to be the king of search. Google jumped directly into the smartphone seas this week with the launch of the Nexus One. One of the first things the search giant did (besides open an online store to sell the phone) was put a big ad for the phone on its homepage.
That's prime real estate, especially considering that the pristine page is generally ad free. But Google has other tricks when it comes to search that could be more dubious. Like manipulating search results and blocking advertising on its trademarks.
Although it’s by no means a sealed deal, it’s very possible that in the 2010 election, the government will change and the Conservatives will lead the country. What might that mean for our industry?
Can paid search and online lead generation co-exist in the same marketing plan, or do advertisers buying leads just end up cannibalising their own own search efforts?
As online lead generation starts to establish itself as a separate discipline in online marketing and an increasing number of advertisers start to see the benefits of paying for leads on a CPL basis, marketers will have to start making some decisions to allocate sufficient budgets to their online lead generation campaigns.
For many lead products, paid search is still one of the most important ways to generate premium leads. This raises a few interesting issues for advertisers running paid search campaigns at the same time as buying in third party leads on a CPL basis. Can the two really exist together in the same marketing plan?
There are two things that make a search engine successful: quantity of traffic and the quantity of advertisers competing for the top spots and pushing up CPC’s. Currently, there is a great deal of industry speculation, which claims that, if Microsoft and Yahoo’s deal goes ahead, it could create a true competitor to Google in the search and advertising market. But is this really the case?
Yes, their traffic will be added together, but will they see higher CPCs through attracting more advertisers?
A good landing page is one that reinforces ‘conversion intent’ by providing enough information to persuade customers to convert, but most importantly it has to be relevant to the paid ad that the user has just clicked on.
When shoppers enter a very specific phrase, such as a make and model number of a product, it suggests a clear intention to purchase, and so the landing page has to send the searcher straight to the product page and make it easy to complete the purchase.
There are many elements of an effective paid search campaign. While much of the discussion often centers on bidding, there is an equally important component: quality score.
Quality score was introduced by search engines looking to receive maximum yield from advertising. By understanding the search engines’ approach, search marketers can take steps to improve their ROI, independent of their bidding strategy.
According to a recent post from Heather Hopkins at Hitwise, the share of search traffic coming from paid listings is decreasing at the expense of organic traffic.
The stats highlight a 26% decline in the share of paid clicks, but is paid search really falling? Let’s take a closer look...