Archive for the 'Google' Category

Jun 17 2008

Bad News for Advertisers: Yahoo to Serve Google Ads

Published by Charles under Google, Microsoft, Paid Search, Yahoo

Recently Yahoo and Google announced a new partnership. Here’s the skinny. Yahoo will serve up Google’s ads on about 80% of their search volume. This move will add about a billion dollars annually to Yahoo in the short term, but in the long term they are going to effectively kill off their search business. This deal really concerns me for several reasons:

  1. Google is becoming a monopoly. Google already has about 65% of the search engine volume. A combination with Yahoo will give them over 90% of the search volume. I’m always a fan of competition over monopolies. This will effectively consolidate Google’s power and dominance. I’ve already mentioned how Google is raking the little guy over the coals. This will only make it worse.
  2. Your costs on Yahoo are going to increase. Guaranteed. Average prices on Yahoo are about a third of what Google’s paid search algorithm is able to achieve. This is where all Yahoo’s new-found cash will be coming from. Straight from your pocket.
  3. There will be less innovation. Yahoo is not known for their innovation in search. But Microsoft is actually innovating. Take their adlab or their excel plug-in for examples of the next generation of tools for advertisers. I believe that a combination with Microsoft would have combined Yahoo’s volume with Microsoft’s innovation. But with this deal there will be no reason to even run a separate Yahoo account. This means no improvements or innovations on their own platform. (Not that they understand how to improve their platform anyway)

Let’s hope that the Department of Justice puts this one to bed before they can execute it or that Microsoft and Carl Icahn go hostile. This deal completely seals Google’s dominance and your dependence on their traffic. Anyone interested in forming a consortium of concerned advertisers?

One response so far

Apr 10 2008

Building the Brand

Published by Charles under Branding, Google

Branding is a tough game to play. In traditional advertising building a brand can cost millions of dollars. The big boys on the block (think Wal-mart, Sears, Coke, Miller) literally spend billions of dollars annually building the brand. I’m sure that you would be happy to to have that kind of money to throw around, but chances are that your budgets are significantly smaller. Let’s take some learnings from the big guys and show you how to apply them to your business.

Measuring the value of a brand is pretty tough work. Owning the trademark for Coca-Cola has got to be worth something right? In practice it is hard to nail down a price because a brand is not a tangible thing. In truth, it’s more of an art than a science. In the financial world when they put a dollar value on a brand they call it “goodwill.” This is the figure that traditionally gets tossed around.

In the online world there are a few fantastic ways to measure the penetration of your brand. The two best metrics you should follow are:

  1. Direct Navigation Traffic
  2. Number of monthly searches on the brand term and it’s derivatives.

Take Bidz.com for an example. I went to Google Trends and typed in “bidz.”
bidz branding

As you can see, over the last few years, they have enjoyed about a 20% increase in their brand term searches. Now, that’s cool. The data above is Google’s view of the world. When you are assessing the demand for your brand you’ll want the hard facts from your web analytics package.

Go back six months. Measure all the traffic that you received from search engines that included a brand term. Do the same for last month. What is the change in the traffic from these two periods?
Do the same process for your direct navigation traffic. Is your brand getting more prevalent or less?

Start now. Go measure the pulse of your brand.

Have questions about this post? Ask a good question in the comments section below and I will answer it and give you a link on our blog roll. Fire away!

One response so far

Mar 30 2008

Google and the Tragedy of the Commons

Published by Charles under Google, Paid Search

Don’t get me wrong, I love Google. I remember quite clearly what it was like surfing the net in the 90s. Finding what you were looking for was often really hard. Google was absolutely the key to unlocking information quickly and we loved it. Years ago, when I started advertising with them, I loved them even more. While Google gets their money from advertisers, it has always been on the side of the search user. Fanatically so. Over the past few years they have made countless changes to the rules advertisers must follow to be qualified the give them money.

They were the first to use your click through rate when deciding on your bid pricing. They were the first to consider the relevancy of the landing page. They punished campaigns with single page landers. They’ve changed a lot, but now, they have set the bar too high for most advertisers. Recently they stated that they will be considering landing load times when determining your quality score. Ok, I get it, another update. But when is enough, enough? What’s awful about all these updates is that somewhere along the way Google lost site of the small guy. Just about every day I hear from people with horror stories:

“I tried advertising on Google, but they wanted $10 a click. There is no way I can afford that.”

Its not that Google really is charging $10 per click. They are just telling you that “something” is wrong in your campaign or your web site. The tables are getting tilted again. The big sites with the big budgets and the big servers are less affected by all these changes than the huge base of small advertisers. And that is a shame. You shouldn’t have to be a technology and advertising guru to send a little traffic to your web site.

This is the tragedy of Google’s success. In fearlessly championing the search user, they are now pushing out many of the very businesses that helps catapult them to their huge success. One thing is for sure, it’s not getting any easier for the little guy.

What do you think? Have you been cut down by the big G?

2 responses so far