What a year 2009 was. Google and Bing started to understand the intent of a search query and started to gain a better of idea of what formats of content were most engaging in relation to the search query. For the 1st time ever search engines measured organic positions against engagement time and bounce back rates etc, and all of a sudden (as if we were surprised), a better blend of real time, local and universal search results began to appear in the results pages. It’s a start in the right direction.
The beta tests Ambergreen ran for Google proved that the latest Product Ads offering is a real winner for Google. With so many people now using their analytics package, we can all see that the final conversions were ending on brand related organic listings. The Product Ads have shown an immediate 20% increase in final conversions using the larger deep linked adverts. Next year the paid search space on Google’s pages will continue grow as organic listings are pushed further down the page.
So how far will it go? Remember when AOL and Ask started showing 10 paid search links at the top of the page before you could see any organic listings …we all stopped using them! We have seen Google’s prototype pages for the year ahead and I can assure you that organic search will have a run for its money this year. Affiliates will have to work harder and Google are guaranteed to make a killing this year from paid search revenues.
Local search and Classifieds
It is fair to say that so far, Yell, Thomsons, 118118 and all the traditional publishers have had their head in the sand for a few years when it comes to making money online. Classified advertising will move leaps and bounds this year, as the traditionalists try to catch up with the new breed that are comfortable pulling structured and unstructured together in a more engaging, re-represented manner. The thing about online classified advertising models is, it still needs organic search visibility to be successful. This space will be filled up quickly. But what it does do, is bridge the gap between local search and classified advertising, and a more commoditised search advertising model, reaching the SME will move into its next phase.
The options to the advertiser will continue to grow; mobile will continue to grow as a more measurable format of advertising, targeted toward the localised market. BIA/Kelsey predicts that mobile local search ad revenues will grow to $130 million by 2013, and that mobile local searches will increase to 35 percent of all searches by 2013. It’s the savvy marketers that will make the most of this changing platform. This is a great opportunity for search providers to maximize this opportunity and provide a measurable form of advertising to many that have been unsure what contribution “digital” has really brought to their business.
And then there is Social Media. Still unproven as a saviour or a waste of time for many, Local search does have opportunity to utilize Social Media and real time search to harness a localised audience. Most people will have a greater idea of how this affects their business in about a years time.
The trick is, how do you monetize social media and real time search from an advertising perspective without intruding into people’s personal space? We all know that peer to peer recommendations are very successful but the key is listening to what the audience is saying then responding rather than the previous models of “push advertising”. Big brands will have to invent their internal wheels if they are ever going to harness this audience, and some have their work cut out for them. You do have to ask yourself …who wants to be a brand advocate for a bank or a washing up liquid anyway; I like my friends, lets keep it that way. What we will see in 2010 are companies like Twitter coming up with some innovative forms of real time advertising.
And the free party is nearly over for many publishers. Google are shocked, other people want to make money on the web as well them. Cheeky webmasters have realised they can make money from selling links based around an algorithm that was based on linking…that Google created!. Major publishers have asked for money for their content to pay their wages, because they create the authoritative pages that Google badly needs to qualify its search index. The whole worlds going mad and if isn’t going mad it’s getting scraped and indexed instead.
2010 will be a year of changes.
Last but not least, I’ve managed to get to the end without talking about Augmented Reality, that’s because it won’t really take off till 2011. But as we sit down and watch the telly over Christmas, I’ll remind you that your TV is now just another information retrieval device, except it sits in your living room, not in your pocket or on your desk at work. We just haven’t quite joined up the dots yet. The lines are more blurred than ever before.
Have a great 2010