Stats. Metrics. Articles. Resources. Trends. For Digital Media.

Posts Tagged ‘Search’

A Strong Appetite for Behavioral Search Targeting

Posted by Mort Greenberg on May 16, 2008

Article Source:

Article Link:

By Kevin Lee, The ClickZ Network,

Demographic and behavioral targeting were sufficiently interesting to marketers that advertisers, on average, would pay 11 percent more for both behavioral and demographic targeting, according to the “2007 SEMPO State of the Market Survey.” The survey also finds that 57 percent of online advertisers polled were willing to spend more on demographic targeting, such as age and gender. While the survey doesn’t overtly specify that the primary targeted behavior was prior search (so-called search retargeting), the questions likely had respondents referring to that practice.

This is great news for search engines willing to provide advertising that allows marketers to behaviorally target consumers through graphical or textual ad units.

Despite talk of some kind of Yahoo/Google strategic alliance, Google isn’t nearly as pro search retargeting as Yahoo and Microsoft are. And if Yahoo were to reduce or eliminate its direct sales of PPC (define) search advertising, it would weaken its ability to sell behaviorally targeted ads on its own search traffic. Ironic, isn’t it?

While advertiser interest in behavioral targeting is very strong, there currently isn’t a ton of inventory available to retarget searchers. This results in the actual spending against behavioral search inventory being quite low. Forty percent of survey respondents said they aren’t currently targeting or retargeting searchers but to do so in the next 12 months. Current retargeting options are driven primarily by third-party ad networks that retarget organic visitors, paid search visitors, and often general site visitors.

I’m excited to see what kinds of behavioral search targeting options show up this year (and next), in part because the engines’ behavioral search options will deliver far more scale than we can currently deliver using cookie targeting within third-party ad networks.

Also fascinating is a little-discussed facet of behavioral search targeting with graphical or textual ads within traditional banner inventory: competitive targeting. This would be where we advertisers are given opportunities to target users who are searching for our competitors (brands, names, or sites) — not within the SERP (define), but within textual or graphical ads served on Web pages or within applications such as messaging apps and widgets. This competitive retargeting of search behavior opens up a whole new area of advertising, providing a way to get messages in front of in-market consumers without the pesky trademark issues that continue to plague the SERPs.

I expect to see significant new behavioral options emerge at search engines other than Google this year. What’s driving this trend? A high level of interest in behavioral inventory, plus the fact that overlaying search behavior on a display ad network or another display ad inventory management system results in a higher yield on that inventory than on remnant prices otherwise available.

It’s likely that whatever cool behavioral targeting options are rolled out will come from Yahoo or Microsoft. Google, on the other hand, has indicated publicly on more than one occasion that it isn’t comfortable with implementing a search retargeting program. Some of these communications post-date the completion of the DoubleClick acquisition.

The topic of behaviorally targeting searchers is particularly relevant given the recent hubbub surrounding the failed Microsoft-Yahoo merger. There’s rich irony in the fact that Microsoft and Yahoo are both big believers of behavioral targeting within an automated Web-based or API (define) driven marketplace. Each entity owns display advertising exchanges and uses profile data to target display advertising. Microsoft even uses profile data to allow marketers to bid-boost against demographic segments.

Current retargeting campaigns that my team and I have run through third-party providers have amazing ROI (define) and work very well, but they suffer from volume shortages. With site-centric retargeting, we only have an opportunity to find (and retarget) those individual searchers we’ve seen before (and cookied) during a site visit.

Within a search environment, the percentage of searchers that we could cookie might (optimistically) be 5 percent of the total search audience, except on brand searches (meaning that our average CTR (define) on search keywords is 5 percent). The search engines, on the other hand, see 100 percent of the search audience and therefore have a cookie base 20-plus times larger. Far greater scale is available once one has the larger cookie base. Another great advantage is that some searchers routinely ignore the paid listings. So unless a marketer has high organic rank, the opportunity to currently capture cookies is limited to paid search.

Given the willingness of Microsoft and Yahoo to embrace behavioral search retargeting, they have a huge opportunity to meet the escalating demand for this approach. That includes structuring their offerings to allow for behavioral targeting against competitive searches, regardless of their SERP trademark policies. The appetite among our clients and the SEMPO survey respondents is particularly strong for in-market consumers who have voluntarily shared with search engines their needs, desires, research interests, and preferences through a combination of voluntary profiles and their searching behavior.


Posted in Ad Products, Ad/Behaviroral Targeting, Search Marketing | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Local vs Search, the Online Ad Battle Begins

Posted by Mort Greenberg on May 6, 2008

Article Source:

By Dave Porter

(AXcess News) Reno – The Internet appears to be pulling more ad dollars from traditional media like print, television and radio during a time of lean advertising budgets, but even though there is a slowdown in ad spending, the real battle online appears to be ‘big box’ vs local.

According to eMarketer, ad spending in 2008 will “bounce back”, increasing 3% and television will see the highest growth thanks in part to the election and the Summer Olympics.

Still, the Internet is expected to show a healthy gain as well.  According to a December, 2007 Borrell & Associates report, “2008 Outlook, Local Online Advertising”, total online ad spending is forecast to grow by 1.8%, while offline ad spending was estimated to shrink by 1.8%.  That’s a far cry from eMarketer’s forecast, yet Borrell’s prior market estimates have been far more accurate in consideration of the researcher focusing more on local advertising.

“Even with the Olympics and presidential election campaigns on the horizon, overall ad spending in the US is in the doldrums,” says eMarketer’s David Hallerman. “Except online.”

Hallerman says that “US Internet advertising will not only be more resilient than traditional media, it will grow. In fact, in 2009, 10% of all US ad dollars will go online.”

Stepping forward in the minds at Borrell & Associates to the most recent Report, “2008 Online Promotions – The Big Shift”, Borrell & Associates made a bold prediction.  That a shift in ad dollars was underway with promotional advertising rising to the top while Standard-sized ads (banners, skyscrapers et al) would shrink dramatically.  In fact, the researchers over at Borrell & Associates were already downplaying ‘standard advertising’ online back in December, predicting then a severe drop in web advertising dollars this year.

“We are seeing a distinct shift of business spending away from classic online advertising per se toward non-advertising marketing expenses – the more nebulous category of ‘promotions’,” said Borrell & Associates founder, Gordon Borrell.

“The Internet provides tens of thousands of marketing channels that allow businesses to reach consumers directly with information on pricing, sales, features and new products,” says Borrell.

While Borrell’s report gives some startling predictions, such as, Online display ads (Web page banners, pop-ups, etc.) have lost their luster; and, Paid search advertising is likewise facing a luster-loss, the ‘big box’ theory of major search providers consolidating is threatening the pricing model for competitors.  While lower ad rates may be attractive to online advertising buyers, some of the allure comes in the form of logistics in doing business with one resource capable of handling a large ad budget, where spreading those ad dollars across a host of local sites is more difficult to manage and monitor.

So the question arises, who’s right, Borrell or Google?  The answer is, both.

Borrell notes that the web is creating opportunities for viral marketing, such as an online video of a new beer which when post online gets handed around by viewers.  That branding tactic works well, but production may not fall into the hands of the brew mister as much as at it rests in the hands of skilled public relations providers.  Borrell was sharp enough to note that in its report in which they predict that “Online promotions, including the revitalized and expanded practice of public relations, will nearly triple over the next five years to $22.8 billion, surpassing all other online advertising categories (paid search, banners, email, and online audio/video advertising.)”

Oh wow, you say.  That is a startling revelation indeed!    So far the paid researchers who derive the bulk of their revenue from reports gleaned off of information from the top search engines and major websites haven’t responded to Borrell’s ‘revelations’ and for good reason – they’re not about to get into a credibility war with the maverick of online research and king of local – Borrell & Associates – as it could cost them plenty.

The ‘big box’ dominance of Google’s combination with DoubleClick is certainly going to affect the online advertising market and the most likely area will be in ad costs falling as the mass-market appeal of one-stop advertising online takes hold.  Recently, Google and Yahoo tried teaming up with Yahoo looking to display Google ads, which appears to be getting a green light from regulators while the rumors of whether or not MSN will be combined with Yahoo still echo through the tech blogger world.

I have often argued that people should pay more attention to the fact that while the bulk of traffic lies with the top search providers, there is more action in the long tail of the web and Borrell is saying the tail is now getting more diverse and with it greater opportunities to brand products and promote online on a local scale.  Underneath it all is one recurring theme – geographic.

Local is becoming king and through it new, more creative ways of reaching customers are developing.  Video and even content is being used to achieve a geographic appeal.  Perhaps where that’s winning out is in the fact that major newspaper websites, along with Yahoo and Google, have been unsuccessful at capturing the geographic theme of marketing on a national scale.  That may be due to their inability to cooperate because they’re so large and bulky.  Enter PR.  Public Relations firms on a geographic scale are able to come up with creative ways of reaching local audiences online and can virally expand that both regionally or national.  E-mail may be playing a part, but content appears to be winning out in presentation format where a dining out section of one local website is being used in consort with other local sites to generate an interest through their online promotion.

But firms like Marchex are also getting in on the ‘local’ theme and have teamed with local content sources in sharing both content and advertising.  That kind of creative thinking is on the rise and more boutique advertising agencies like are coming up with ways to lure ad dollars through both innovative technology and targeted intelligence.  Newer technology providers like are also attracting partners who are looking to team with innovative agencies in combining both cutting edge technology and better performance matrix of delivery in order to compete.  So while Borrell cites a shift in ad spend, I say parallel to that is a shift in cooperative public relations, where innovative firms are combining technologies and resources to offer ad buyers better conversion rates to compete with the lure of big box ad providers like Google.

Posted in Local, Search Marketing | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Mobile Search on Cusp of Explosion?

Posted by Mort Greenberg on May 1, 2008

Article Source:

By Judy Mottl
April 29, 2008

Five years from now search will be a key application for one third of the globe’s mobile device users, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

Of the expected 4.2 billion owners of mobile devices expected by 2013, roughly 1.3 billion will depend on mobile device searches to find and locate “local” digital information. Most searches will happen in North America and Western Europe as the countries boast good local digital information suppliers (think yellow and white pages) as well as mapping data with good coverage of points of interest, according to the report.

The trend bodes well for Web search firms. For advertising boutiques and marketers looking for signs of the mobile search market’s growth, the report could be manna. Of course, all these growth expectations are built on a good user experience, the firm noted.

Search engine companies and online service providers are already making serious moves in anticipation. Yahoo and AOL are just two that recently announced initiatives tied to mobile device applications and development programs.

Total mobile search revenues are predicted to reach $4.8 billion by 2013 though Juniper warns of potential “advertising overload” that could act as a disincentive and ultimately limit adoption. That, in addition to continuing public concern about the use of online personal data, could impact mobile search adoption as well.

One trend propelling mobile search is the growth of the handheld marketplace. Research firm Strategy Analytics predicts 290 million mobile handsets will be sold this quarter, an increase of 12 percent compared to the second quarter of 2007.

“Mobile broadband development and the gradual reduction in data costs has encouraged a greater proportion of mobile users to surf the mobile Internet, as has the breakdown of operator “walled gardens,” John Levett, Juniper’s marketing and business development executive, told In addition, an increasing operator and vendor focus on ease of service usage has stimulated growth.

“The increased interest in mobile advertising, combined with a greater degree of Mobile Web 2.0 activity, are also factors encouraging adoption,” Levett added.

While adoption will be mostly in Western Europe and North America, Juniper said the demographics could change as network connectivity expands.

“We will see a marked increase in adoption in many developing markets where the fixed broadband infrastructure is limited and mobile becomes the de facto means of accessing the Internet.”


Posted in Mobile, Search Marketing | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »