Archive | November, 2009

Google Loses Market Share, Small Biz PPC Spend Up

24 Nov

According to WebVisible, the current break down of search share is:

Google: 60.4 %

Yahoo 26.2%

Bing 10.5%

Ask 2.4%

Continuing from the WebVisible report:

“Small Businesses Increase Spend by 91 Percent Generally, small businesses are buying more keywords and dramatically increasing their paid search budgets when compared to last year, according to WebVisible. First off, the average small business purchased 55 keyword phrases in Q3, which is up 30 percent from Q3 2008’s median number of 43. That statistic represents the high-water mark for the four quarters that WebVisible has been tracking small businesses keyword buys. Meanwhile, businesses dedicated an average of $1,658 to search ads, 91 percent more than Q3 2008. And business-to-consumer professional services appear to be the busiest in terms of collecting local sales leads via SEM. Attorneys and dentists made up the top two advertiser categories, with 7.7 percent and 5 percent of total small advertisers, respectively. Each of the two categories invested far more than average, spending $2,560 and $2,005 respectively in Q3. Air conditioning services and physicians/surgeons were the only other categories that accounted for more than 2 percent of search advertisers. Overall, the research suggests that the small business search advertisers are a varied bunch. The top 20 categories accounted for only 36 percent of total dollars spent. Thirty-two percent of search clicks resulted in a “lead conversion,” meaning the viewer either clicked through to a landing page on the advertiser’s Web site, printed a landing page, watched a video, printed out directions, entered an e-mail address, inquired via e-mail, or completed an online form. Clicks to the Web site were far and away the biggest lead conversion type, coming in almost twice as high as the next three categories: printed landing pages, submitted e-mail inquiries, and printed driving directions. For small businesses utilizing a call tracking number, 4.5 percent of the clicks resulted in a call, a 3.6 percent lift from 2008. No material differences occurred among advertisers in terms of CTR or proportion of lead conversions. However, WebVisible said that cost-per-clicks and keyword counts tended to increase with rising spend levels.”


Quite a shift!  From a merchant’s perpsective this is a double edged sword. When Google had 75-80% of the marketshare, an arguement could be made to neglect MSN and Yahoo and focus on having the best possible Google ppc campaign. Now that is no longer true. That may put a lot of strain on merchant’s paid search team to manage additional campaigns.

But, with the growing market share of Bing and to a lesser extent Yahoo, merchants who can act quickly and more nimbly then larger orginizations may be able to take advantage and grab a disproportionate share of these other engines at reduced costs.


Google to offer Free Phone Service?

15 Nov

From CNN via WIRED:

Google is set to become your new phone company, perhaps reducing your phone bill to zilch in the process. Seriously. Google has bought Gizmo5, an online phone company that is akin to Skype  but based on open protocols and with a lot fewer users. TechCrunch, which broke the news on Monday, reported that Google spent $30 million on the company. Google announced the Gizmo acquisition on Thursday afternoon Pacific Time. Gizmo5’s founder Michael Robertson, a brash serial entrepreneur, will become an Adviser to Google Voice. It’s a potent recipe — take Gizmo5’s open standards-based online calling system. Add to it the new ability to route calls on Google’s massive network of cheap fiber. Toss in Google Voice’s free phone number, which will ring your mobile phone, your home phone and your Gizmo5 client on your laptop. ÿþ Meanwhile you can use Gizmo5 to make ultracheap outgoing calls to domestic and international phone numbers, and free calls to Skype, Google Talk, Yahoo and AIM users. You could make and receive calls that bypass the per-minute billing on your smartphone. Then layer on deluxe phone services like free SMS, voicemail transcription, customized call routing, free conference calls and voicemails sent as recordings to your e-mail account, and you have a phone service that competes with Skype, landlines and the Internet telephone offerings from Vonage and cable companies. That’s not just pie in-the-sky dreaming. Ask longtime VOIP watcher and consultant Andy Abramson, who introduced the idea of integrating Gizmo5 and Grand Central (now Google Voice), long before Google bought either. “If AT&T is Coca-Cola, Google is now 7-UP.” –Andy Abramson “Google is now the the uncommon carrier,” Abramson said, punning on the iconic 7-UP commercials and the phrase “common carrier.” That refers to phone companies that operate on the traditional publicly switched network — a status that gives them benefits and obligations. “If AT&T is Coca-Cola, Google is now 7-UP,” Abramson added. “All of a sudden you have something that offers more than Skype,” Abramson said, saying the combo could now put Google in competition with phone and cable companies, IP “telephony” (VOIP) companies and Vonage. “But now you can do everything with Google and pay nothing and have a platform where engineers can build new things.” In fact, Gizmo5 offered a rogue version of that service for $6 a month until last week. On November 2, Gizmo5 abruptly canceled the two-month old “residential service,” which paired the free phone number available through Google Voice with Gizmo’s Internet calling service to provide the equivalent of a home-phone replacement like Vonage. Now, that service has been wiped off the Internet and, more intriguingly, Google’s cache of the page disappeared the day after the acquisition was reported. For $6 a month, Gizmo5 residential users got 300 minutes a month of outbound calling anywhere in the United States, unlimited incoming calls on their home computers or even home phones (using a broadband-to-phone network conversion box) and E911 service (which means 911 calls work like landlines calls do, once you register your home address). It’s not too surprising that offer got taken down. For one Google is already trying to steer clear of U.S. regulators by making it clear that Google Voice isn’t a replacement for a home phone since you have to have phone service from some other company to use it. You can forward calls from a Google Voice number to your Gizmo5 number, but you must have a mobile or landline number as well. Google doesn’t say it, but clearly it hopes that restriction will keep the service from incurring the common carrier obligations attached to the regular phone system (PSTN), and the 911 and wiretapping requirements that apply to Internet telephony and to traditional copper wire phones. AT&T has already tried to sic federal regulators on Google Voice because Google is blocking outgoing calls to a handful of shady calling services  mostly free conference-calling services that exploit federal rules that let rural phone companies charge high fees to connect calls to rural areas. AT&T itself has sued similar services that play this arbitrage game, and complaining to the feds may have only brought more attention to an issue the FCC has procrastinating fixing for too long. Gizmo5 will also help save Google money on phone-call termination fees as users start to use computer-based clients to connect to Google Voice. That would allow Google to recoup the purchase price of $30 million in little time, if only it saves even a few dollars per user per year. Google also gets Michael Robertson, a troublemaker with technical chops. Robertson made millions from in the dot-com boom, despite drawing lawsuits from major record labels for creating innovative services. He was later sued by Microsoft for his startup Lindows, which made Linux installations for cheap PCs. And his current music venture,, is being sued by EMI. Though still in invite-only mode, Google Voice has about 580,000 active users and nearly 1.5 million registered users, according to a Google filing with the FCC. If you are interested in the combination, you might want to sign up for Gizmo5 before the acquisition is formally announced, since Google often freezes new registrations at companies it acquires until it figures out how to integrate the technology.

Google > You

The End of Lead Gen Sites? Comparison Shopping Engines End Near?

4 Nov

Google announced the formation of AdWords Comparison Ads. An extension of AdWords, Comparison Ads lets users compare multiple, relevant offers at a glance. Currently only being offered for mortgage rates, Google plans on expanding this search result in the near future.

Ad unit

From Google: “If they click the promotion, users are taken to a page with more detailed sponsored results. They can choose directly from the offers listed on that page, or they can further refine their search by providing additional information like income and home value. By giving users the ability to refine their search on a number of relevant attributes, we are able to show more targeted ads and provide you with more valuable leads.

Once users find an offer that matches their specific needs, they can either call you directly or request a quote. If a user requests a quote, Google automatically anonymizes the user’s phone number and sends you a unique code that you can use to contact the user. You only pay if a user calls the phone number on your offer or fills out a form to request a quote.”


I have always said that it was just a matter of time before Google rolled this service out. A logical step would be offer this on individual items, effectively ending comparison shopping engines. When the revenue that would be derived from that presentation is greater than the obscene ad spend the comparison shopping use (according to one comparison shopping engine VP I spoke with, as much as 80% of their traffic orginates from their AdWord spend) and the time is available for the technology side….I can see Google having it ready for q4 of 2010.

Deja Vu: Adweek says “The Hispanic Market Is Set to Soar” Didn’t We Hear This in 1999? 2002?2004?

2 Nov

From Adweek:

“Hispanic Americans continue to grow in number at a rate four times that of the general population, with the 2010 Census expected to show their total rising to nearly 50 million, from 38 million in 2000. And second-generation Hispanics are fast becoming the driver of the group’s growth, with 88 percent of Hispanic children born in America, versus 61 percent of adults.

As a result, agencies that market to this segment are finding themselves in a strong position, armed with the skills and techniques to take on general assignments from big-name clients. Meanwhile, in a tight business environment, general agencies are starting to compete for work previously reserved for specialist shops.

Is an already competitive agency landscape set to become even more so?

“In the 2010 Census, we’ll see confirmation of a shift from Hispanic consumers who are first generation, where Spanish is the dominant language, to second-generation, bilingual, bicultural consumers. It totally transforms how we market,” says Cynthia McFarlane, chair of Publicis Groupe’s Conill, a Latino agency. “These are consumers who are as influenced by American culture as the country of origin of their families. There is a new American culture forming, and these consumers are having a tremendous impact on mainstream America.””


Far be it from me to accuse anyone in marketing to pander and/or fawn over a supposed ‘hot segment’…but treating the Hispanic population as a homogeneous bloc that thinks, and responds the same way seems overly simplistic. No other ethnic groups is treated this way…people are many, many things…someone isn’t simply Hispanic. They are a mother of 2 of Hispanic descent who enjoys rock climbing, travel to national parks, golf and is active in local politics.

Call me crazy but speaking to her interests and needs would probably be more effective than simply identifying her as a Latina and yelling a precanned message.

The Hills Are Alive With Sound of Google Music

2 Nov

Since I scrupulously only buy music from places the labels have approved and never use any p2p this isn’t huge news for me. but according to Google:

“…we’re rolling out a search feature that does just that by enabling you to search and more easily discover millions of songs, all via a simple Google web search. If you’re searching for music, “time to result” is really “time to music.” Now, when you enter a music-related query — like the name of a song, artist or album — your search results will include links to an audio preview of those songs provided by our music search partners MySpace (which just acquired iLike) or Lala. When you click the result you’ll be able to listen to an audio preview of the song directly from one of those partners. For example, if I search for [21st century breakdown], the first results provide links to songs from Green Day’s new album. MySpace and Lala also provide links to purchase the full song.”

Big news for you? Or was regular search working  just fine for you?

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