Tag Archives: YAHOO

Google to Marketers: Get Better at Mobile search growth rates rivaling those on desktop

Google, which recently shared some big numbers from its mobile advertising business, has some advice for marketers hoping to join in its success: make your mobile presence presentable, now.

“Businesses need to be ready for mobile as soon as they can, particularly this holiday season,” said Surojit Chatterjee, Google’s lead product manager for mobile search ads. “You need to have a mobile site irrespective of whether you think people will actually make purchases from it. How good your site looks on mobile determines how people think about your business.”

Even though mobile advertising is still in early days, he said, mobile search volume is growing at a rapid clip. Over the past two years, Google has seen mobile search queriesgrow fivefold—a growth rate he compared to the early days ofdesktop search.

According to research firm Forrester, while 13 percent of the U.S. population searched with a mobile device in 2010 (90 percent with Google), mobile searchers will account for 28 percent of the U.S. population by 2015.

Early experiences now can have lasting consequences, Chatterjee said. Citing analysis from Gomez, another research firm, he said that 60 percent of users indicated they would be unlikely to return to a mobile site if they had trouble accessing it once and 40 percent said they would actually visit a competitor’s site. Beyond that, 63 percent said they would be less likely to buy from the same company through other channels (online or in the store).

“Users are looking at the mobile site to make conclusions about the business as a whole,” Chatterjee said.

Given the increasing number of smartphone users, he said as the holidays approach it will be ever more likely that consumers will try to reach marketers on the go.

This holiday season, Google expects that 44 percent of total searches for last minute gifts and store locator terms will be from mobile devices.

While Google has a clear lead in search now (on mobile and desktop), some industry watchers have wondered whether the search giant can maintain its top position as more consumers transition to mobile devices.

Its earnings report earlier this month, however, gave Wall Street a reason to have some confidence in CEO Larry Page’s belief that mobile search could be as big for Google (if not bigger) than desktop search.

In a rare move, the company broke out revenue from mobile advertising and said it was on track to bank more than $2.5 billion in that category in the coming year, and grew twofold in the last year.

Chatterjee said its success comes from building specifically for the new medium and catering to user behavior on the platform. For example, leveraging research that users tend to act more quickly after a mobile search, Google recently launched new ad formats that let users download apps from a mobile ad or reach a specific destination with a mobile app they already have on their phone.

A user searching for a pair of boots from her mobile phone, for example, can now go directly from an ad to a shopping app on her phone, so that she can more easily complete a purchase.

Other mobile features capitalize on the interest in local information—according to Google, 40 percent of mobile searches on Google are related to location. Two years ago, the company released a click-to-call feature that lets smartphone users call a business directly from an ad. This month, Google announced that proximity to a business would be a factor in mobile search ads ranking.

“We are building specifically for the medium,” Chatterjee said. “We are really, as an industry, speaking to the mobile user and taking into the account the signals we have on mobile phones, the constraints on mobile phones and the user behavior trends on mobile phones.”

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Online advertising becoming as important as spot TV

According to Q3 2011 research from media buying solutions provider STRATA, clients are becoming just as focused on digital media as they are on spot TV. US ad agencies reported 34% of clients were thinking most about online advertising in Q3, compared with 24% the previous quarter. Meanwhile, the number of clients whose primary focus was on spot TV dropped from 41% to an almost-even 35%.

The online marketing tactics in use by the agencies surveyed did not change much, with online display, search and social media coming out on top, their usage rates stable from quarter to quarter. On social media, similarly, priorities remained the same, with Facebook, YouTube and Twitter the clear leaders, though LinkedIn, in fourth position, gained ground.

The number of agencies purchasing mobile advertising for their clients also stayed relatively stable, at 23%, but the types of ads they were creating began to change. In Q3, display advertising took an even larger lead over SMS. More than half of agencies said they are now creating more mobile display ads for their clients than other mobile formats, compared to just 16% of agencies that are still mostly creating SMS ads.

The mobile devices being targeted by those ads were changing, too. Agencies cut their interest in BlackBerry by half between Q2 and Q3, according to STRATA. Still, Android-targeted efforts lagged behind iOS-focused ones.

eMarketer forecasts display will take 33% of mobile ad dollars in 2012, pushing it ahead of SMS and even with mobile search spending. It also estimates that the iPhone will lose its spot as the No. 1 smartphone in America by the end of this year, when Android’s share will far surpass it.

Google revenue soars, G+ network grows to 40 million

Google reported third-quarter earnings that handily beat estimates, and announced that its three-month-old Google+ social network now has 40 million users.

That’s a big increase from the 10 million users Google+ had at the end of Google’s last quarter, when it remained in a “limited” trial phase. The network opened to the public in late September.

In an earnings release late Thursday, Google said it earned $9.72 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast earnings of $8.74 per share.

Advertising and profit: Investors are looking to Google’s advertising figures as a barometer of the overall economy, and the numbers were good — though the cost-per-click increase was not as high as it was last quarter.

Profit rose as both the number of clicks on Google’s ads and the amount that advertising partners pay per click increased. Paid clicks rose 28% and cost per click ticked up 5% compared to last year.

Sales for the Mountain View, Calif., company rose 33% over the year to $9.7 billion. Excluding advertising sales that Google shares with partners, known as “traffic acquisition costs,” the company reported revenue of $7.5 billion, which beat analysts’ forecasts of $7.2 billion.

Shares of Google (GOOGFortune 500) rose 6% after hours.

Spending and hiring: Google is continuing to spend at a quick clip. Capital expenditures totaled $680 million in the third quarter, including investments in Google’s massive data centers.

But Google has plenty of cash to back up its shopping spree. As of September 30, the company had $42.6 billion on hand.

Google is also continuing to ramp up its hiring. Full-time staffers totaled 31,353 as of September 30, up 9% from the previous quarter.

Motorola: On Google’s earnings call, analysts asked about Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility (MMI). The deal was announced in August and, once finalized, will score Google some valuable Motorola patents. Intellectual property is turning into a battlefield among tech giants including Apple (AAPLFortune 500) and Microsoft (MSFTFortune 500).

When an analyst asked whether Google will license Motorola software to other companies, Google CEO Larry Page said “it would be premature” to discuss details before the deal is approved.

“We’re very excited about Android, and we see that ecosystem growing,” Page said, adding that the strategy is “getting stronger” — and the Motorola deal is part of that.

Browsers and search: Page also revealed that the Google Chrome browser now has more than 200 million users worldwide.

Susan Wojcicki, Google’s senior vice president of advertising, talked up theFlight Search that Google launched last month. She also said Google data shows that “ads that are socially annotated are more useful for users.”

Google execs did not talk specifically about recent antitrust concerns. The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating the company for evidence of abusive practices, and a federal judge recently rejected Google’s planned settlement deal in its attempt to create a universal online book library.

Page instead offered up a “view of the future” sentiment that echoes some of his past statements: “We are still at the very early stage of what technology can deliver. These tools will look very different in five years.”

Report: Mobile Ad Spend to Hit $1 Billion, dramatic increase in banner, search, rich media, and video ads predicted

EMarketer has released analysis of mobile ad spending that predicts decreased investment in message-based ads and dramatically increased investment in banner, search, rich media, and video ads on the mobile platform.

mobile-ad-spending-share-2011-2015

As the iPhone 4S is released, featuring the Siri personal voice assistant that understands what you mean when you talk, it’s clear that smartphone technology is stepping forward. The increased presence of these high-tech tools, as well as decreasing costs, has pushed smartphone ownership toward becoming the “norm.” eMarketer predicts that smartphone ownership will reach 38 percent in the U.S. by the end of this year.

The increase in smartphone ownership coincides with a significant increase in mobile ad spending, which should reach $1.23 billion for U.S. advertisers by the end of the year, up 66 percent from last year’s $743 million figure. eMarketer predicts that the figure will continue to see escalating growth, reaching $4.4 billion by 2015.

Total investment isn’t the only big change, though. Advertisers are focusing less on message-based ads (ads sent via text message, usually after the mobile user sends a subscription message via short code) and more on visual and search ads. While message-based ads are currently in the lead with 36.1 percent of spend, eMarkter predicts that will have changed by the end of 2012.

eMarketer specifically predicts that rich media and search ads will win 33 percent of spend each, leaving message-based ads at 28.2 percent of spend. This divide will grow further in the coming years, with eMarketer’s 2015 figures showing messaging at just 14.4 percent to search’s 40.2 percent and rich media’s 36.4 percent.

The fastest growing segment, however, is video advertising. While it still holds a very small portion of the mobile ad market (at 4.7 percent currently), eMarketer predicts video “will grow at a compound annual rate of 69 percent between 2010 and 2015,” reaching 9 percent of ad spend (an estimated annual figure of $395.6 million) by the end of 2015.

eMarketer’s figures are based on “mobile advertising estimates from other research firms, company data from major mobile ad networks and vendors, marketers’ mobile marketing strategies, and smartphone and tablet adoption and usage trends.”

Speaking of advertising, online advertising hit a new high in the first half of this year, $14.9 billion, the IAB announced last week – with $7.3 billion of that from search advertising.

Getting Digital Marketing Right:Q&A with Google’s Industry Director for Retail Todd Pollak

17 September, 2011

Q&A with Google’s Industry Director for Retail Todd Pollak: Getting Digital Marketing Right

What are a few of the top trends you’re seeing in digital retail this year?
In no particular order…mobile, social, deals and convenience. The cost of walking out of a store is cheaper than it has ever been. For the first time in history, consumers have the ability to save the absolute amount of time and money at zero incremental cost regardless of whether they’re standing in a store with their coveted merchandise in hand. When you have two-parent working families with kids who have more activities, an economy generating flat income growth relative to inflation and rising commodity prices, the pressure to adapt and find efficiencies to maximize your lifestyle accelerates.

Just as retailers are increasing productivity through adoption of technology like CRM, connected stores, recommendation engines, free shipping, site-to-store, etc., the vast majority of consumers are also using technology to steepen their value and efficiency curve and improve their lifestyles. Deals, recommendations, inventory availability and price comparison have become so accessible to Main Street that the traditional ways consumers look to save money more clearly than ever express their true costs of use.

Are digital technologies reinventing the relationship between consumers and advertisers? What does this mean for retailers?
Shopping tools that are always available, predicated on simplicity and elegant design combined with real mobile processing power have fundamentally changed retailing forever.

There are 330 million search results for “my 2-year-old can use an iPhone.” In short, technology is more accessible than it has ever been at a time when inventory, pricing, reviews and recommendations information have reached near 100% transparency for non-perishable goods. Today, we have easy-to-use tools that personalize, organize and filter information like Groupon, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Google.

Consumers’ understanding of these tools is peaking and usage has become more sophisticated overtime.
Retailers should be focused not just on where consumers spend their time researching and buying, but on how best to tailor their tactics based on the transitions people make by device and by location. From desktop at work, to tablets after work on the couch, to mobile in the aisles, focus on transitions in mindset and context. Size of screen and location impact the kinds of information people seek.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask about one of the biggest social media announcements of the year – the launch of Google+. Will you share three tips for retailers looking to leverage the platform?
Social seems to have its most significant impact at the front – through awareness – and backend – through conversion – of the buying cycle. What deals are available? What brands or products do people who are like me buy and when it comes down to the final choice, which brand do people like me buy? It’s still very early days and retailers are investing in the promise of tomorrow.

Today, social signals are relatively one dimensional in that they express interest, but not necessarily intent. In the future, companies that make sense of these connections and influences by understanding their relationships will revolutionize the way retailers merchandise and personalize their stores for each customer.

At Google, our goal is to use social signals to improve consumer experiences across Google properties and partners. In the near term, we’ll enhance the relevance of intent-based queries which are already delivering the most qualified customers on the web to retailers. If someone is looking for barefoot running shoes and their friend endorses a specific result for barefoot running shoes, we believes this will improve engagement for brands, improve the relevance of generic queries and deliver higher conversion rates for our partners.

According to this year’s State of Retailing Online report, search is still the number one marketing acquisition tool for online retailers. I know you can’t tell us what’s in the Google secret search optimization sauce, but what common mistakes do you see among retail clients when it comes to optimizing their site for search?
For multichannel retailers, too many still optimize for an online conversion and view all other paid search visits to the website as waste. Many focus their investments on 2% of their traffic as though the only people who come to a website are online buyers. This happens because the organization views the website as one store, although a very profitable one, and not the gateway to the brand. The stores benefit far more from the website than the online division, they just don’t fully measure online to store activity. The first stop for any consumer – regardless of where they intend to buy – is a website. As long as online divisions are hyper-focused on converting every visit, the consumer experience, which is tied to the whole brand, will be sub-optimal. To create an optimal customer experience, online divisions need to focus less on converting every visitor online and more about the overall customer intention and experience.

The other piece of advice I’d give is to think differently about website visitation by category. People don’t buy sheets the same way they buy blenders so if you’re using the same layouts, information, attribution window for transaction across all your categories…there’s an opportunity to increase topline revenue by optimizing for each category.

As online and offline continue to blur, retailers are hoping to increase customer insight and build relationships between online and the physical world. What tips do you have for retailers looking to leverage this customer data?

The consumer has changed and as a result, retailers must structure themselves for the 21st century.

First, align your organization to optimize for delighting the consumer regardless of the channel. From the CEO down, the whole organization must commit to the idea of a single profit center where everyone is fairly compensated and media is optimized for any conversion regardless of channel. In short, start by eliminating internal friction. This is a must do, because consumers don’t see any difference between your stores and your website. Creating separate PnLs that compete for resources, media dollars, etc. creates confusion for the consumer and damages a brand. Most of our testing demonstrates that the stores benefit far more from a visit to the website than the .com.

Second, invest in continuous testing. I’m always surprised when retailers expect a single test with a positive or negative outcome to change a media mix that’s been built over 10 years. Make a long-term commitment to solving this because you have to believe that eventually 20%+ of commerce in the U.S. will happen online.

Third, invest in a single view of the customer. That means breaking down the data silos between stores, website analytics and online transactions. This will enable top line revenue growth for your company by truly understanding the lifetime value of your customers.

How are you seeing locality play out in the current customer shopping experience? 
Location is still one of the most important factors for a traditional retail business. Today’s consumer wants instant gratification as a result of technology. Price transparency and inventory availability make local shopping more important than ever before. Your customers expect that they only have to drive to your store if you have what they need, when they need it.

I don’t think that retailing has changed all that much. The foundational things still apply, but technology that can identify a customer’s current location presents all kinds of interesting opportunities to encourage a visit that never existed before.

Mobile is accelerating the importance of a local strategy. There are over 100 million Google mobile maps users in the U.S. Some of our best performing ad units on a mobile device are brand searches and click-to-call. Consumers use their phones as shopping tools to save time looking for your store locations and calling for information. In fact, we have data that shows that mobile queries peak at the same time that offline sales peak. Those consumers who are a bit further ahead of the curve know they can find inventory availability and pricing information by store location on the web as well.

The easier the tools are to use, the smarter we become about who the shopper is and what she likes, the more opportunity there will be for advertisers to design an exceptional and personalized shopping experience for their customers.

What do you think the 2011 holiday season holds for retail? 
Long lines and aggressive shoppers have been hyped by the media for the past three years. True or not, this stuff sticks with people. As a result, a greater share of transactions will shift to the web again in 2011. Shoppers will buy earlier and deal sites will see gains as consumers hunt for values. Increased use of technology in the aisles as a shopping assistant, as well as mobile and tablet usage will see exponential growth.

What is the number one recommendation you’d make for retail companies as they begin their holiday planning?
Don’t build another microsite. Increase your presence in social communities where consumers already spend time. You’ll activate a lot more users and benefit from network effects.

Tips To Keep Visitors On Your Web Site

Your Web site can under-perform, actively drive customers away, poorly represent your business, or, well, just be horrible. Here are a few easy ways you can keep visitors on your Web site:

1. Be mobile-friendly. Almost 5 billion people have mobile phone subscriptions out of a population of approximately 7 billion people. You need a fast, well-designed, and efficient mobile-friendly site for your customers.

2. SEO optimization is not more important to you than readability. You got them there with high-ranking keywords, but once they arrive they want to read something written by and for real people. Avoid blatant SEO tactics.

3. Visitors want to know who you are, what you do, and how to reach you. Fluff, jargon, hype etc. do not belong on an About Us page. Be real — customers will respond.

4. Do not use auto-play audio or video. No one wants to turn off the video, or turn down the sound. If you include video or audio, let visitors choose to access it.

5. Don’t ask visitors to learn how to use your site. If an operation or a page itself requires some sort of instructions, your site is broken. Be clear. Be straightforward. Make next steps intuitive. Sometimes a little site reorganization or a different navigation structure is all you need. Remember, any time visitors have to figure out what to do next, they leave.

6. Include a search function. Maybe a small website doesn’t need an internal search function, but why take the chance? Many people would rather use a search function than take the time to explore. Since hundreds of millions of Google searches are performed every day, at least a few of your visitors will be happy to see a search function.

7. Deliver on advertising promises. Anyone can run an AdWords campaign and generate traffic, but what happens when a visitor lands on a page that only partially relates to the ad? They leave. Include one main call to action, make sure each page has a clear purpose, and don’t throw everything you have on a page in the hope something will create a response. Make sure your pay-per-click ads deliver exactly what they promise.

Following just a few of these simple tips will surely help to keep visitors on your site, and coming back for more.

GOOGLE CREDIT CARD TO BE OFFERED TO SELECT U.S. CLIENTS

Google Inc is offering its clients a credit line by introducing a credit card for its advertising customers in order to trump the competition in the online ad marketplace.

Google is offering the card to select U.S. clients with a competitive interest rate, ample credit line and no annual fee. The card can only be used to buy search advertising on Google, the world’s No.1 Internet search advertising network.

The AdWords Business credit card is another Google first; it could enable marketers to spend more on its search ads.

Google, said the credit card was designed to help small and medium-sized businesses that advertise on Google who often do not have the budgets to support ad campaigns ahead of a heavy sales seasons and holidays such as Valentine’s day or Halloween.

Many small businesses are resource-constrained and are often cash flow-strapped yet still trying to grow a business.

Many consumer-oriented companies  have offered credit cards for years to drive purchases, inspire customer loyalty and track spending habits. Some retailers that own their own credit card operations also earn some interest income.

Google will email invitations offering the credit card to some of its customers on Wednesday. The card will initially be available as a “beta” test, available to select users.

Google makes 96 percent of its revenue from advertising, the majority of which comes from the small ads that appear alongside its search results, known as AdWords. Google’s AdWords business faces growing competition from a search alliance between Microsoft Corp and Yahoo Inc, as well as from social networks like Facebook, which is becomingvery popular with advertisers.

The AdWords card is a MasterCard that will be issued through the World Financial Capital Bank. The card’s 8.99 percent annual percentage rate is the ongoing rate, and not an introductory rate, Google said.

Google is keeping quiet on many of the other details, including the minimum and maximum credit lines available and the number of people to whom the card will be offered.

Google said the credit card will be offered to a “statistically significant” number of people as Google examines the results of how availability of the card affects customer spending behavior.

Even though availability will skew toward smaller businesses, Google will cast a wide enough net to can  see what resonates depending on historical monthly spend.

Google will evaluate customers’ creditworthiness through a combination of internal efforts and with the help of a financial partner.

The main motive for the card is to provide loans to Google customers in an economic environment in which getting credit can be tough. It’s based on customer need.

One popular perk missing from Google’s credit card is the ability to rack up airline miles or other rewards with purchases.