How much Google trusts its own contextual advertising?

NetImperative, the British e-marketing site, looks at the changes of Blogger, the blog subsidiary of Google and concludes that “Googles contextual ads may not be as useful as its search advertising, if the latest moves by the search giant are anything to go by.”

NetImperative refers to the recent move by Blogger to remove Google’s contextual ads appearing on the top of blogs hosted by its BlogSpot site, and to replace them with a regular Google search box.

According to Blogger which according to Nielsen//NetRatings had 4.4 million unique visitors in June alone, the Blogger navbar is a “more useful navigation tool” than the old Adwords ad block.

Walking on Thin Ice: The Promisses and Dangers of Behavioral Web Marketing

Not to be taken as the final word on a new and quickly changing dimension of web marketing, yet informative enough to address the most important questions about behavioral web targeting as known and practiced today, a new report published by eMarketer and titled “What Comes Before Search?” looks at how it works, what is its relationship with search engine marketing, and what are the challenges associated with making behavioral web targeting effective.

Big Brands and Search Engine Marketing

When earlier this year The Kelsey Group released the results of a survey on the interest of big-budget marketers in search engine marketing, the main focus was on the growth opportunity: 24% of big-budget marketers indicated that they would be interested in search engine marketing in 2004, twice as many as in 2003.

Now a new survey, conducted by NameProtect, a digital brand protection company, looks at the owners of big brands and how they use (or not) search engine marketing. The results are quite telling of the state of big brand search engine marketing, and should be troubling enough for any big company with a legal department to start working on protecting its intellectual properties and brand values:

Only 7% of the paid listings on Google and Yahoo!, containing one of the 100 Top Brand names, as ranked by Interbrand and BusinessWeek, were posted by the respective brand owner!
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Customer friction, conversion rates and SEM

Jim Novo, database marketing and web analytics expert, writes in his “Drilling Down” book about prospective customers who experience friction which prevents them from becoming customers. In the case of a website experience, Jim writes:

“An easy way to measure this want-to-be-customer friction is to look at the visitor conversion rate on your web site. Navigational design and layout determine “physical friction” and copy elements determine “emotional” friction. Design and layout testing will reduce physical friction; persuasive copywriting will reduce emotional friction. Success at reducing want-to-be-customer friction is measured by an increased visitor conversion rate.”

This wonderful analysis can be further extended into the realm of search engine marketing. In organic search engine optimization, the onsite influencing inelements which Jim summarized above, would have to be altered in order to serve the potential customer information needs. In pay-per-click marketing, the text of the ad will have to be persuasive enough to play the role of “emotional greese” so that the person making the search woulf feel insired to click and go further into the site.

Expert advertising. Minimum effort. Google’s Entry into SEM

Today Google revealed its AdWords Jumpstart program aiming to introduce the pay-per-click AdWords program to those new to search engine marketing.

Google promisses that its search engine marketing specialists will:

Our specialists will:

  • Write compelling ads promoting your product or service.
  • Choose relevant keywords to trigger your ads.
  • Set cost-per-click amounts (within your budget) to maximize your ad exposure.

The price for setting an account, $299, in fact goes towards future bids, so overall the service offered by the Google AdWords Jumpstart program is free.
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Keyword Search Spending Accounts for 35% of the Total Online Ad Spending in 2003

Two months ago WebSage reported that “Search engine marketing drove growth in online ad spending in 2003”. Now, backed by numbers for the whole year, the Interative Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoppers further clarify that keyword search engine marketing was the leading engine of growth for the online ad industry reaching 35% of total online ad spending in 2003.

U.S. online advertisement spending in 2003

Putting this number in perspective is a prediction by eMarketer which puts online advertisement between 2.9% and 3.1% for the period 2003 – 2005.

Overture Site Match Pricing Comparison

The newly introduced Overture Site Match replaces and simplifies a variety of paid submission offerings for the different web properties purchased by Yahoo last year.

The basic selling points of Overture Site Match are:

  • Pro: Site Match up-front fees are 1/3 of the combined fees for the previous paid inclusion programs
  • Pro/Con: Only Site Match includes Yahoo Search traffic
  • Con: There are click fees based on product categories ($0.15 or $0.30 per click)

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Search engine marketing drove growth in online ad spending in 2003

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) find online advertising spending hit $7.2 billion for the entire year last year, representing a 20% increase in spending over 2002. Article
Online ad spending in Q4 2003 totaled $2.2 billion, rising 38% over Q4 2002. What’s more, last quarter marked the highest spending quarter yet in the industry.

According to eMarketer, search engine marketing (SEM) — which grew 123% in 2003 — is primarily to thank for the 20% in online ad spending growth last year. In its latest report, Search Engine Marketing, eMarketer estimates paid search ad spending totaled $2.07 billion last year, jumping from $927 million in 2002.

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The Challenges of Calculating the Number of Net Users Worldwide

According to a survey by Ipsos-Insight shared by eMarketer, Canada is the county with the highest percentage of its adult population online – 71% or 16 million. The US is the biggest online user with 128 million users online or 68% of its adult population. Where this survey’s results became questionnable is the numbers about China and its online population.

The survey claims that 41% of the Chinese urban market is online. Sounds like a good percentage for an up-and-coming online nation — that is, until you see the absolute number of 6 million Chinese online. I doubt either the math rules or the numbers of the Chinese internet users quoted in this survey…
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