For enterprise SEM practitioners looking to set budgets or otherwise anticipate their needs in the space for the months and years ahead, it’s been a particularly difficult time to get a read on how the industry is really trending. Conflicting data and opinions abound; new threats to the hegemony of search, real or just perceived, continue to spring up; and, there are times when all of us may wonder just how much the numbers are actually changing and whether we should be concerned. Case in point: comScore recently showed U.S. core searches increasing 11% year-over-year to hit an all-time monthly high in March; however, as recently as December, it was showing declines in the same metric. Even as its count of Google searches has trended up in Q1, comScore shows total visits to Google sites declining 0.3% Y/Y. Meanwhile, Google released its own numbers for Q1 a couple of weeks ago showing paid clicks were up 20% Y/Y, or about double comScore’s growth rate for search. What … [Read more...] about Relax, The Search Industry Is Doing Just Fine
Last month, The Wall Street Journal first reported that Amazon has plans to depart the Google Search Network and replace the Google ads it currently runs on the Amazon domain with its own in-house ads. Amazon hasn’t confirmed this, but those keeping a close eye on their Google search partner traffic may have seen a signal of this change months ago. I’ll get back to that in a bit, but to better understand how this change may impact the fortunes of retailers advertising through paid search, as well as Google itself, I think it is helpful to first consider the importance of the Google Search Network to advertisers overall, and how that has trended in recent years. Google Search Network Traffic Share Has Been On The Decline For Years Looking across a couple of dozen large retail paid search programs, we see a consistent decline at RKG in the share of paid search traffic generated by Google search partners over time. In the last two years, partner traffic share has dropped by … [Read more...] about Analyzing The Impact Of Amazon’s Departure From Google’s Search Network
Quietly, eBay has dumped Google AdWords sponsored text ads from mobile devices in favor of Bing Ads. The move was noticed by RKG, the agency’s Director of Research, Mark Ballard, wrote about the change today. EBay serves syndicated text ads at the bottom of category search pages as a way to further monetize its content, just like Amazon (more on that below) and thousands of retail and publisher sites. For years, eBay has served ads from Google exclusively. Now, on Ebay’s mobile site, these ads are served by Bing Ads. As Ballard notes, this move comes on the heels of eBay acknowledging to investors that a Google SEO penalty cost the company as much as $200 million in revenue. “The Google penalty may have also prompted eBay to reconsider its status as a Google search partner,” says Ballard. Maybe, though the fact that eBay is testing a move to Bing Ads on mobile only to start shows that the company isn’t making brash moves to get retribution against Google … [Read more...] about EBay Dumps Google Syndicated Ads For Bing Ads On Mobile Devices
According to numerous sources Apple’s search deal with Google is expiring soon. That means the “default” search placement on Safari is up for grabs. Will Bing or Yahoo secure that business or will Apple introduce its own search engine, as some are speculating? According to RKG’s Mark Ballard,”roughly half of total paid search traffic [is] at stake in 2015 if the Safari search default is really up for grabs across devices.” That’s massive. If Google did not retain the Apple search business, it would potentially face an immediate drop in mobile traffic, market share and paid clicks. According to StatCounter, Safari on the desktop and mobile drives just under 26 percent of US internet traffic. That’s second only to Chrome and more than IE. US Browser Market Share The Yahoo default Firefox deal has meaningfully boosted its search market share in the US. As indicated, Safari is a much larger prize. Bing already powers search for Siri on … [Read more...] about As Apple-Google Deal Expires, Who Will Win The Safari Default Search Business?
In my experience, most retailers see segmenting brand and non-brand traffic as a necessity of running a paid search program; however, the rise of Google Shopping Campaigns and the Product Listing Ad (PLA) format has muddied the waters on these efforts. Searches on a retailer’s own brand name tend to perform very differently from generic searches or searches that include product manufacturer names. Brand search is often purely navigational in nature or reflective of brand equity that has been generated through other channels. While brand search can produce incremental paid search revenue, it is helpful to assess its performance in that context and separately from non-brand search. Because text ads are based on an advertiser’s chosen keywords, it is relatively straightforward to channel searches on the advertiser’s brand name to one set of ads and non-brand searches to another. PLAs, on the other hand, are feed-based and advertisers cannot simply tell Google, “If … [Read more...] about Understanding How Your Brand Drives Google Shopping Campaign Traffic