Local Search and Online Shopping Go Hand In Hand

According to a new survey of consumer search behavior conducted by The Kelsey Group and BizRate.com:

  • Over 75% of respondents stated that comparing prices and/or merchants was their favorite aspect of shopping online
  • 72% of the participants use general search engines nine or more times per month
  • 43% of respondents said that they preferred to research and shop online, while around 28% prefer to combine offline and online research and shopping
  • 37% of online consumers are already very familiar with shopping search sites
  • More than 52% of Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) users are loyal to one IYP site
  • 42% use “two or three” different Internet Yellow Pages sites.
  • 52% of the respondents reported that general search engines are the leading types of sites that lend themselves to personalization, while 41% of indicated that about shopping search sites
  • 33% have actually personalized search web sites
  • 35% of the participants indicated loyalty to one search engine
  • 44% of the respondents have downloaded a toolbar, 68% of whom said their objective was to block pop-up ads, while 36% had done so to be able to search from any web site.

Google in Alliance With BellSouth Enhances RealPages.com With AdWords Advertisers

Andrew Googman pointed today on the SEM2discussion list that RealPages.com, the Yellow Pages web site run by BellSouth, has become the first yellow pages publisher authorized to sell advertising through Google AdWords(R) to small and medium-sized local businesses. On one hand, this announcement is no different than other press releases of Google expanding the distribution base for its AdWords pay-per-click advertising program. On the other hand, it might turn quite significant as it creates a precedent of including a big third party reseller of Google AdWords for the SMS business market place.

Online Ad Forecasts Are Bright… Where is the ROI Analysis?

In its “Marketing & Media Snapshop: 2004” press release, Millward Brown shares results from a survey conducted among 300 senior-level marketing executives. Some of the key findings include:

  • 56% of top marketers say their total marketing and media budgets increased in 2004 over 2003. Sixty percent expect an increase in 2005.
  • Marketers with the largest budgets ($400 million+) are most optimistic about budget increases in 2005 over 2004.
  • Online marketing is growing the most (54.1%) as a share of total budgets and marketers expect this trend to continue.
  • All channels of online marketing (Web advertising, search, email, promotion) are expected to increase at a higher rate than other major media.
  • Marketers rated TV and magazines as most effective for building brand equity.

  • Direct mail was rated as most effective for reaching a target audience and providing measurable ROI.
  • Online is seen as the most effective medium for acquiring and retaining customers and in offering efficiency.
  • 89% of marketers say their companies run integrated marketing campaigns, but they define integrated marketing in many different ways.

Continue reading “Online Ad Forecasts Are Bright… Where is the ROI Analysis?”

Search Engine Marketing Effectiveness

Paying more for keywords on pay-per-click search engines does not necessarily get the most value for their dollars, according to a report published by DoubleClick, “Search Engine Marketing Considerations,” and based on data from DoubleClick search and affiliate marketing unit Performics.

According to the report, more than 60 percent of “active” keywords resulting in at least one click during the last month, cost 20 cents or less. In contrast, keywords that cost more than $1 account for only 6 percent of those clicked on at least once a month.

Higher position doesn’t necessarily mean greater click volume. The report concludes that high click-volume keywords perform equally well both above and below the top three. In fact, lower-positioned keywords drive 10 percent of total conversions. Moreover, conversion rates tend to fall as cost-per-click prices exceed 50 cents.

The report concludes that search engine marketing requires a combination of human expertise, robust technology, and constant attention–three qualities that are not always readily available to the average interactive shop or in-house marketing department.

Are you able to handle the technological requirements to manage an active ongoing search engine campaign? If not, contact WebSage for a free estimate on your search engine marketing needs.

Questions & Answers from a recent SEM 2.0 Google Group Thread

A recent question posted on the SEM2 Google group had me provide brief answers which are nevertheless universal and are shared here:

1. What can be done to guarantee that Google index’s your site often.

Have new content. Google as well as other search engines love fresh content. Whether you do that through blog, press releases, articles, etc, it is up to you, but try to have something new published regularly and over time this will send a signal to the spiders to come and visit more often.

2. Second, what is the average time to be placed in DMOZ?

Six weeks seems to be the average but can vary. Keep in mind that the DMOZ editors are all volunteers, which implies they are busy with their full time job. You can courtiously inquire about a submission through the DMOZ forum. I have found that submitting on a geographical basis (i.e. B2B company based in XX state) first accelerates acceptance.

3. How this (DMOZ listing) works in regards to pagerank?

DMOZ listings tend to carry higher value in Google’s algorithm because they have been edited by a human and the Open Directory has consistently shown good quality of newly submitted content. Because of that, Google visits DMOZ often, thus the importance of having your site listed with DMOZ.

I would have you ask yourself the question about conversion very seriously. If you are in the AdSense business then you need a lot of content and eyeballs. If you are in any business dependant on conversion, you should make sure your content, action items, copy, information architecture, any aspect of your web presence should work towards improving your conversion rates. To do that you need to implement some web metrics and regularly track their success.