By December 19, 2007 0 Comments

Search Marketing Trends {Issue #75}

Microsoft Moves to Make More on Mobile

On December 10th, nearly six months after the launch of MSN Mobile, Microsoft began displaying ads to MSN Mobile users in the United States. Now available in the United States to any mobile phone user, MSN Mobile provides customers with one-stop access to e-mail, news, local movie listings, maps and directions, as well as Windows Live™ services such as Windows Live Hotmail®, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Spaces, and Live Search. Microsoft has already been selling these types of ads in Western Europe, and now is looking to tap into the growing US mobile advertising business by allowing advertisers to extend their brand into a new platform.

This launch follows other recent Microsoft mobile activity such as several purchases of players in the mobile space – one being ScreenTonic, a leading European mobile advertiser. The other is MotionBridge, a mobile search provider. Microsoft is looking to cut a bigger slice of the mobile advertising pie, which is estimated to reach $5 billion over the next 4 years.

Increasingly, mobile devices are outfitted with GPS transceivers that broadcast a user’s location. This, in conjunction with consumer data, makes for an appealing ad targeting model, but also raises privacy concerns. In our last issue we discussed Ask.com’s announcement of the AskEraser, illustrating how important privacy concerns are and the lengths that engines are going to in order to protect those concerns. This advance in technology pushes Local Search to the small screen, making targeting capabilities more granular. There are concerns regarding the storage and use of this location and behavioral data since the guidelines that apply in Search Engine Marketing and Display Advertising don’t explicitly apply to mobile device users. It will be interesting to see what hurdles Microsoft has to clear in order to resolve this issue.

Millions of users are now able to access the mobile internet, and marketers have the challenge of finding them. Those looking to test mobile ads should consider several factors before making their decision. First, it’s important to understand the difference in look and feel of ads on mobile devices. You have to be prepared to change creative just for mobile. It’s also important to make sure you have either a WAP-enabled site formatted for mobile browsers or are able to have a number to allow users to contact you directly. Lastly, you need to understand if your product is right for mobile. Certain sectors are probably not a fit for mobile at this time, while others such as e-commerce, stores, and news are perfectly suited to capture this audience.

Article by Luigi Ferguson

Day-parting with Google: Is it Right for Your Campaign?

How effective is day-parting for your search campaign? A recent posting on Amplify Interactive serves as a good jumping-off point for discussion on the effective use of Google’s day-parting capabilities.  Day-parting allows PPC campaign managers to identify the times in which their campaign ads are most efficient and allocate budget accordingly.  This tool provides advertisers the ability to optimize their search campaigns in a more dynamic manner.

To maximize day-parting returns, advertisers should analyze their existing campaign to determine the most effective day-parts.  Google’s “Daily” and “Hourly” Reports can help advertisers discover the days and times in which performance is higher than average.  From there, advertisers may allocate increased budget to higher conversion times by turning on “Ad Scheduling” within their Google Account.  This helps maximize your ad spend and avoids spending an excess of budget dollars on times when performance is low.

Day-parting may be particularly useful for brick and mortar stores, as advertisers can automatically turn off a campaign when the store is closed.  A local store or service center may only want visitor traffic or phone calls during store hours, and day-parting can be a way to easily target traffic during those important store hours.

We recently had a client who benefited from turning off inefficient keyword groups during the weekends that were reported to be high cost and low converting days of the campaign.  The budget saved during these days was reallocated throughout the weekdays where traffic was most cost-effective.  This day-part implementation resulted in orders increasing between 60-80% and overall cost per order decreasing over 36%.

While day-parting can benefit any campaign, there is no “one-size-fits-all” strategy.  For example, day-parting for an awareness campaign can be wildly different than a day-part strategy for a DR campaign.  Awareness campaigns are looking for frequent visitors, not necessarily immediate conversions.  Furthermore, an advertiser must not completely ignore the value of non-converting traffic.  Buyers often undergo a complex process to end up at the final conversion stage, and limiting ad showings may limit their consideration of your product or service.

Day-parting is certainly a useful tool for making the most of your PPC budget, but it is important to take these factors into consideration when determining if day-parting is right for your campaign.

Article by Lauren Deppe

More Sherpa

This week, in our continued review of the MarketingSherpa Search Benchmark Guide, we look at Chapter 3 – Top Search Properties.

This chapter begins with general market perceptions of each engine and ROI. While 76% of people spending at least $25K per month agreed with the following statement, “Google’s dominance is deserved because it has the best ROI,” many people believe that Yahoo! Panama and recent enhancements to MSN’s AdCenter will pay off in the long run. Interestingly, more than half of the people surveyed agreed that they had concerns about Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick that will force them to include alternate engines.

The next set of questions was aimed at scoring the engines (on a 1 to 5 scale) for various items. For pure ROI, Google led the way with a 4 out of 5 ranking from marketers, while Yahoo! came in at 3.1. Customer service and Keyword suggestion tools were almost a dead heat with between Yahoo! and Google. However, for just targeting tools, Google scored a 4 while Yahoo! came in at a distant second by scoring a 2.8.

Google continues to lead the way in search volume and share, capturing 52.7% of searches. Each engine had growth in unique searchers, but Live had the most significant with a 33% rise from last year. The most striking statistic was around penetration. This is measured by looking at how many searchers use a given engine for at least some of their searches. Google has a 76% penetration vs. Yahoo! (44%) and Live (37%). This means that 76% of people conducting searches at some point use Google.

Article by Joshua Palau

SMTrends Briefs

SEO, SEO, Wherefore Art Thou SEO – William Flaiz’s latest article for Search Engine Watch borrows from Mr. Shakespeare and answers the question “how do I pick a good SEO company?”

Uh-oh…That really smart Google / DoubleClick deal may be in jeopardy…I’ll take privacy concerns for $1,000 Alec.

Look out Wikipedia, Google has decided to get into the space with a new offering (in beta of course) called Google Knol. The big differentiator is Google intends to show who the authors are so that users can better trust the information. I can’t wait for Steven Colbert to get his hands on this one.

You’ve got a funnel right? But where does PPC, SEO, PR, etc. fit into it? Search Illustrated has a nice little SEM Strategy Matrix to help you understand…no swimsuit issue. I’m not sure I agree with their scoring, but it still is a simple way to look at your search integration.

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