All posts tagged Paid Search
While a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign can be a powerful tool for a small business to help drive conversions and traffic, PPC campaigns are not always the best solution for small businesses that rely on local sales, such as restaurants and coffee houses. Additionally, small businesses often have a hard time tracking how effective their PPC campaigns are unless they use a “whisper” code or some other method to identify that the client was sent in via the PPC campaign.
A study conducted by Google found that 62% of small businesses nationwide do not have a website, 1 out of 5 Google map queries are local businesses or places, and 97% of consumers use mobile phones to research a purchase they plan to make that day. All of this means that more consumers are using the Web to make decisions about where they decide to spend their money than ever before.
Google took note of this and launched AdWords Express to accommodate small businesses that are concerned with attracting local customers, but may not have the budget or time to establish a successful PPC campaign. A company establishes its AdWords Express account by first signing up via Google. The account can then be connected to its own free Google Places page and Google Maps entry so that customers searching for location specific queries will see their business. Once the company is signed up, it claims its business type from one of many pre-defined categories which are, in turn, linked to sets of pre-selected keywords applicable to the business type. Google then runs its own algorithm against the keywords to determine if the keywords are attracting an acceptable amount of traffic and clicks. If the algorithm determines that the keywords are not driving enough clicks, it adjusts the campaign to increase traffic. The budget is set by the company and the campaign automatically turns off once this is spent.
AdWords Express is displayed in the same area as AdWords and competes in the same auction, with Express also determining its cost per click rates using the same method as AdWords. Google’s ultimate goal with Express was to make it indistinguishable from traditional AdWords from a user perspective, just more flexible for a small business.
While a traditional PPC campaign still holds many benefits over AdWords Express, such as increased customization and reach, Express offers an easy and affordable solution for small businesses to increase their exposure. The ubiquity of the Web now requires any small business to establish their marketing campaign and budget with a digital presence in mind, and for any small businesses that rely on local customers and sales, Express should be an effective solution to increasing their customer base.
Just as the debate between tech pundits was heating up regarding whether or not Microsoft should sell Bing, the most recent Experian Hitwise Search Engine Analysis report for July revealed that Bing and Yahoo search results have a substantially higher success rate than Google. The respected online competitive intelligence service defines success as a user clicking at least one link on the search results page, and this data should give online advertisers and marketing firms reason for pause: 68% of Google searches were ?successful,? as opposed to 80% on Bing and 81% on Yahoo.
This isn?t a fluke either, as Bing and Yahoo have been rated higher for three straight months now. This new development only compounds the effect of Bing?s slow but steady climb up the market share mountain, and while Google still has that on lock-down (66% in July), Bing and Yahoo combined for 43% – hardly a number to ignore.
What does this change? For one, it makes it blatantly clear that companies neglecting search campaigns on Bing are missing a huge opportunity for potential revenue. Though Bing still lags in volume, it is making huge strides in the quality of its searches. Businesses are happy to hear this news, as any meaningful competition with Google is beneficial to them and drives down their advertising costs. Better still, they now know that they have a viable alternative that can deliver even more relevant traffic than before.
Microsoft may use the news as leverage to finally sell Bing for a better price, but whatever the final decision, it has to be some form of vindication for their online services unit. Just recently, a NY Times business column labelled Bing a ?distraction? for Microsoft. Published before the Experian report, it now appears that Bing is a big distraction for Google.
Last month saw what seemed to be a significant milestone in the battle for search market share as Bing broke the 30% mark by powering 30.01% of U.S. searches with 14.32% coming from Bing.com and 15.69% coming from Bing-powered Yahoo Search. Google saw its lead decline from 66.69% to 64.42% in just the month of March alone. These numbers, provided by Hitwise seem to indicate that there could finally be a trend towards Google actually having search competition in the near future.
The numbers are essentially the same for Yahoo as they were back in 2005 when Microsoft muscled its way into the search market by launching Bing. However, what may give Google some pause is the fact that Google has seen an overall decline of roughly 10% of market share since the two merged services back in August 2010, a period of only 6 months. While it?s highly unlikely that we?ll see some dramatic sea change in competition within the next year, it hasn?t stopped some from predicting rather outrageous outcomes. Courtesy of Mashable.com, case-in-point:
So by this logic, Google would be overtaken by early next year, which to put it kindly, is bunk. While Bing has made inroads, the merger with Yahoo has ben anything but seamless. News from today puts some of the starry-eyed projections into perspective. From TechCrunch, Yahoo’s search revenue shortfall for early this year continues, and now Microsoft and Yahoo are passing the blame. The numbers don’t look good:
This is the data since Microsoft took over Yahoo?s U.S. search advertising in return for 12% of Yahoo’s search revenues, with the red line indicating Yahoo’s revenue taking the 12% into account. So even though the merger seems to indicate some increase in market share over the last two quarters, the ad revenue has declined substantially. While Bing and Yahoo may claim that adding the human element makes their paid ad relevancy for search terms better, the data seems to indicate that Google’s algorithm (i.e. Quality Score) is still the best method for getting people to click on an ad, and thereby generate revenue. Perhaps any qualms Yahoo had about AdCenter’s performance versus AdWords back when they chose which company to outsource search to was eased by the magic word “scale”. So far, it appears that the “scale” promised by Microsoft hasn’t made up for lesser platform quality.