Making the Most Out of Search Data

Making the Most Out of Search Data.

Search data is not one-size-fits-all – it goes way beyond search engine marketing and knowing which search led to a specific action. In fact, if search data can be used to forecast flu outbreaks, then I think we should consider the use cases beyond just an SEM campaign.

There are various search entities where data resides – such as search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo!, and then other search entities including vertical sites, shopping comparison engines, e-commerce sites and social networks. The combination of all of these searches is creating opportunities for marketers to take search data beyond SEM and into other types of marketing territory.

Value Of Search Data Beyond Search Engines

Today’s search world is anything but linear. When you think about it, search has really become more organic; something that has grown into multiple elements and can be placed in a variety of contexts to provide greater insights. Marketers should start by understanding that the use of search data in SEM is different from the use of search in display.

Additionally, search data is a great source of consumer behavior and an identifying factor of where a consumer is within the purchasing funnel.FUnnelSearchKeywords

Given this sheer volume of data, it’s easy to see why search data is becoming more important for display advertisers. Today, search data allows display advertisers to reach a broader audience, proving that it’s no longer just a lower level, funnel-marketing channel for SEM advertisers.

This has evolved because in display, marketers aren’t buying keywords related to a search from a list, but an audience based on search. Rather than bidding on specific keywords; in display, you are targeting a much larger audience that is based on other related words, not just a single keyword.

For example, in search, marketers that want to target using the keyword “lawyer” will need to purchase all three related keywords: attorney, legal advice and lawyer.

In display, that same “lawyer” keyword is expanded to include related terms, and would result in an audience that includes people that search for lawyer, attorney, law advice, lawsuit, legal counsel, etc. These keywords are without an additional cost to the marketer and result in an increased reach for the campaign.SEMvsDIsplay

Search Engines + Other Search Entities = Greater Insights

As mentioned earlier, search data that is used in display advertising comes from a vast range of sites that aren’t search engines. These types of sites include e-commerce sites, vertical and shopping comparison sites and social networking sites.vertical_sites

The breadth of data available on these sites increases the likelihood that display campaigns based on search will reach consumers earlier in the purchase cycle. This allows advertisers to get their brand and message in front of those consumers during the influence/consideration phase, before they have made their purchasing decision.

The analysis of various sources of search data leads to a pool of insights into consumer trends, purchasing decisions, and the demographics of consumers that are searching for your product or related products.

For example, when you combine search with additional browsing behaviors, marketers get a much richer picture of how long a consumer may consider specific products, what factors play a role in the purchasing process, the kinds of sites that consumers who are interested in the product visit, and other, perhaps even unrelated products, your consumer audience is interested in, etc.

Understanding The Value Of Search In Display

While the search industry has had a proven model since the ’90s, it’s also true that display has created even more value for the search channel and its data. In my opinion, marketers shouldn’t overlook the value that comes, very cost-effectively, from the use of combining search data with display advertising, as many of the insights gleaned go beyond what Google and Bing have.

Search data shouldn’t be seen just as a marketing channel, or be used only for SEM; it should be seen as a major contributor to the overall digital marketing mix. Below are a few ways marketers can make the most out of search data for their display campaigns:

  1. Leverage search retargeting for search extension: Take your search keywords and work with a partner that can expand your SEM list for greater scale in display.
  2. Apply search insights to display strategy: Use search data to gain insights into consumer trends, purchasing patterns and trends, etc., refining your display campaign and targeting parameters accordingly.
  3. Use display as a method for conquesting: Search engines like Google don’t enable conquesting. By utilizing search data within display, marketers can target audiences with display ads based on competitors’ key terms.
  4. Break free from CPC pricing, while using search data: Buying each keyword in search quickly adds up, and some keywords are simply more costly than others. When you apply search data to display targeting, you place value on the audience vs. each individual keyword.

46% of Christmas Day search traffic was on tablets and mobiles | Econsultancy

46% of Christmas Day search traffic was on tablets and mobiles | Econsultancy.


Posted 17 January 2013 15:00pm by Jonathan Beeston

Christmas might seem like a distant memory now, but as we’ve seen from the recent troubles at Comet, HMV and Blockbuster, having a good Christmas can be the difference between success and failure for a retailer.

But what’s coming to light from our search data is how Christmas Day itself is becoming critically important for online retailers.

We have seen a steady growth in e-retail on Christmas Day and Boxing Day over the last five years or so, and now with the proliferation of tablets and other smart devices we’re seeing the growth increase even further.

According to figures from our retail customers, nearly half of the traffic (46%) they experienced on Christmas Day, came from mobile devices.

Interestingly, traffic via mobile on the 25th actually exceeded that of an average shopping day in December. If you take December 1st as a comparison, retailers saw 44% more traffic from tablets and 25% more traffic from smartphones on Christmas Day.

Comparing Christmas Eve to Christmas Day retailers saw a 40% increase in tablet traffic, and a 14% increase from a smartphone.

2012 was undoubtedly the year of the tablet with the launch of several high quality, and more importantly, competitively priced devices, such as the iPad Mini, Kindle Fire and Google Nexus. As online retailers start their sales on Christmas Day, consumers are reaching for (and perhaps unwrapping first) their tablets and mobile devices to go online.

Cost-per-click (CPC) comparisons with desktop traffic are reflecting this – an average click on a tablet has risen to 90% of the rate of desktop; on mobile it’s 65%.

Tablet and mobile click through rates (CTR) are significantly higher than desktop and really spiked after Christmas.

 So if you’re not already, make sure you’re customising your paid search campaigns correctly to take advantage:

  • Non-desktop is becoming a huge portion of searches. Create separate desktop, mobile/smartphone and tablet campaigns to take advantage of the different dynamics of each.
  • Ensure you are bidding each device individually. As above, they are very different bid landscapes and need to be treated as such.
  • Use analytics to measure cross platform effects. You can then assess ROI from the various devices.
  • Make sure your website is optimised to work on all platforms. Assuming most people will view your website on a PC doesn’t cut it anymore. Consumers expect to be able to shop, browse, research, engage with brands via smartphones, tablets, even their TVs.

The shopping behaviour of customers will inevitably evolve alongside the developments in consumer technology. As mobile and tablet devices become increasingly ubiquitous, retailers have an opportunity to source detailed analytical data that can be used to inform search as well as wider business strategies.

Special thanks to Rich Garrod, one of Adobe’s talented business analysts, for extracting these great insights from our data.


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Social still can’t beat search in online shopping | Internet & Media – CNET News

Social still can’t beat search in online shopping | Internet & Media – CNET News.

Although the amount of site traffic generated by social media has more than doubled, it’s still no match for search engines or e-mail referrals.


  August 10, 2012 6:00 AM PDT

A graphic from Monetate’s report showing what percentage of site visits actually result in a sale.

(Credit: Screenshot by Social media’s traffic contribution to online shopping sites increased 77 percent in one year, but few users actually buy anything, according to a new report published today by marketing firmMonetate.

The firm’s study shows that search engine and e-mail referrals are more than holding their own against social media sites when it comes to generating sales in the second quarter of 2012.

Social media sites only contributed to 2.85 percent of online shopping traffic in the second quarter, but the figure did grow a substantial 77 percent from the beginning of 2011 to the beginning of 2012.

Facebook, which generates the most traffic referrals among social networks, had no trouble getting customers to view products on other sites, but nearly half of those visitors would leave the site without visiting another page. The percent of customers who did buy something when they stayed? Less than half a percent.

By contrast, Google had a conversion rate (the measurement of actual sales from traffic) of 2.44 percent, and e-mail has a rate of 4.25 percent.

Monetate CMO Kurt Heinemann said that social media has less value overall and that companies should recognize this. Shoppers still prefer to turn to search when they want to buy something.

That doesn’t mean that companies shouldn’t be on social media, he said, particularly because it may cost the company nothing to create its social media presence.

“It just means we should be very careful of the hype,” Heinemann said. “You want to factor in that it doesn’t convert as high as a typical source.”

The report also offered numbers on the conversion rates for different devices, operating systems and browsers.

Some tidbits from the report:

  • The use of mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, to browse online shopping has increased from to 5.89 percent to 11.6 percent — a trend that will continue, Heinemann said.
  • Smartphones are more often used for browsing and looking at single items, but not for purchasing. Tablets and desktops had higher conversion rates. Heinemann said this is because smartphones don’t have the real estate to provide all the information necessary to make shoppers comfortable with a purchase.
  • Apple’s iPad has a higher percentage of Web site visits, but the conversion rates are about the same as Kindle Fire and Android tablets.
  • Despite growth in iPhone market share, shoppers on Android smartphones continue to have a higher conversion rate than iPhone users.
  • Internet Explorer’s hold on the browser market continues to drop — from 49.37 percent to 37.5 percent over the course of a year. In contrast, Chrome’s market share grew from 10.89 percent to 17.15 percent.

Check out the full report below.

Vers une convergence entre réseaux sociaux et moteurs de recherche ? – SMX 2012 – Journal du Net Solutions

Vers une convergence entre réseaux sociaux et moteurs de recherche ? – SMX 2012 – Journal du Net Solutions.

“La frontière entre moteurs de recherche et réseaux sociaux va totalement s’effacer”, prédit François Sutter, directeur conseil à l’agence Modedemploi, plantant directement en préambule, le décor de la conférence “Le search sera social ou ne sera pas“, qui s’est tenue lors de ce SMX Paris 2012.

Son argumentation s’appuie sur un constat : depuis quelques temps, il suffit que Facebook, Bing ou Google ait une initiative mêlant réseaux sociaux et SERP pour que son concurrent lui emboite le pas peu après. Et la cadence s’est accélérée. C’est particulièrement frappant depuis un an, avec l’arrivée de Google+, quelques jours après l’intégration plus poussée de Facebook dans Bing et quelques mois avant le Search Plus Your World de Google. De quoi inquiéter certains référenceurs, sceptiques sur la pertinence de la personnalisation des résultats (voir notre dossierSEO : personnalisation des résultats, Graal ou enfer ?).

“Nous avons noué des partenariats avec des réseaux sociaux plutôt que de créer le nôtre que nous aurions ensuite favorisé dans nos résultats de recherche”, a indiqué de son côté Bernard Lukey, le directeur général Europe du moteur russe Yandex. Une stratégie qui diffère donc notamment de celle adoptée par Google, qui référence particulièrement bien son réseau social, et même de la stratégie de Microsoft, actionnaire de Facebook, qui est aussi privilégié dans Bing.

de droite à gauche : bernard lukey, directeur général de yandex europe, fedor
De droite à gauche : Bernard Lukey, directeur général de Yandex Europe, Fedor Romanenko, responsable qualité recherche du moteur russe, et François Sutter, directeur conseil chez Modedemploi. ©  JDN

Ces stratégies permettent à Bing de mieux indexer et valoriser des contenus populaires sur les réseaux sociaux. Certaines actualitésbrûlantes bénéficient en effet d’un écho plus important que d’autres sur les réseaux sociaux, ce qui envoie un signal que les miteurs doivent désormais prendre en compte.

Le “Social Search” rencontre vite ses limites.

Mais le “Social Search” rencontre vite ses limites : il y a de nombreux thèmes qui ne sont pas du tout abordés sur les réseaux sociaux, ou pour lesquels ces réseaux ne sont d’aucune utilité… Mais cela ne veut pas dire pour autant qu’ils ne doivent pas apparaître dans lesSERP“, rappelle Fedor Romanenko, responsable de la qualité chez Yandex.

Ce dernier reconnaît que les internautes peuvent apprécier de voir les avis de leurs amis influencer les résultats d’une requête concernant des restaurants ou des loisirs, mais ils peuvent aussi être déçus sur d’autres thèmes. Tous les sujets ne se prêtent pas à la personnalisation des résultats par les réseaux sociaux, comme l’expliquait également récemment au JDN un haut responsable de Bing.

Mais, même si les moteurs semblent avoir conscience des limites du “Social Search”, leur intérêt pour les réseaux sociaux ne montre aujourd’hui encore aucun signe d’essoufflement, en témoigne entre autres le lancement du réseau social de Microsoft,

Search and social media marketing spend remains strong – new report | Econsultancy

Search and social media marketing spend remains strong – new report | Econsultancy.

Good news @Havas Media Brussels we have focussed a consequent part of our development on Search & SoMe

“Digital marketing budgets in search engine and social media marketing are continuing to rise despite challenging economic conditions, according to research released today.

The UK Search Engine Benchmark Report, published in association with NetBooster, has for the past five years shown that companies have continuously invested in the opportunities present in SEO, paid search and social media marketing.

According to the research, based on a survey of over 300 UK in-house marketers and over 200 agency employees, nearly two-thirds of companies (62%) plan to increase their social media spending within the next 12 months, with 57% increasing spending on SEO and almost half (49%) increasing spending on paid search.

Over a third of companies (38%) are spending in excess of £100,000 on paid search advertising each year, with 12% spending similarly in SEO.

The report also found that the three most commonly cited barriers to success in paid search were the strength of competitionkeywords being too expensive, and a lack of budget, with over a third of companies citing these three challenges as some of their most significant issues.

The most commonly cited barrier to success in SEO was listed as a lack of resource, with 42% of companies stating that this was a problem. Such findings are in line with the trend towards higher cost-per-click rates and an increasing emphasis on the production of high quality, original content for SEO.

Commenting on the research, Edward Cowell, SEO Director at NetBooster said:

This year has been a period of the most rapid and interesting change we’ve seen in digital and search for a long time. I am delighted to say that the search sector is still evolving at pace, and the outlook for investment in search marketing remains positive.

Andrew Warren-Payne is a Research Analyst at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or Google+

Google Search Just Got 1,000 Times Smarter

Google Search Just Got 1,000 Times Smarter.

The Google Search of the future is here. Now. Today. The long-talked-about semantic web — Google prefers “Knowledge Graph” — is rolling out across all Google Search tools, and our most fundamental online task may never be the same again.

Starting today, a vast portion of Google Search results will work with you to intuit what you really meant by that search entry. Type in an ambiguous query like “Kings” (which could mean royalty, a sports team or a now-cancelled TV show), and a new window will appear on the right side of your result literally asking you which entity you meant. Click on one of those options and your results will be filtered for that search entity.

To understand the gravity of this change, you need to know about the fundamental changes going on behind the scenes at Google Search. As we outlined in our report earlier this year, Google is switching from simple keyword recognition to the identification of entities, nodes and relationships. In this world, “New York” is not simply the combination of two keywords that can be recognized. It’s understood by Google as a state in the U.S. surrounded by other states, the Atlantic Ocean and with a whole bunch of other, relevant attributes.

As Ben Gomes, Google Fellow, put it, Google is essentially switching “from strings to things.”

To build this world of things, Google is tapping a variety of knowledge databases, including Freebase, which it bought in 2010, Wikipedia, Google Local, Google Maps and Google Shopping. Currently, Google’s Knowledge Graph has over 500 million people, places and things and those things have at least 3.5 billion attributes.

That’s a lot of things. According to Google, search users will see these new knowledge graph results at least as often as they see Google Maps in results. In fact, this update will have a greater initial impact than the updates that brought Google Images, videos, news and books, combined. It’s big and it’s probably going to be everywhere.

Summaries of Good Stuff

In addition to the window which will help users find the right “thing,” Google will also surface summaries for things, which, again, will try to be somewhat comprehensive by tapping into the various databases of knowledge. A search for Frank Lloyd Wright, for instance, will return a brief summary, photos of Wright, images of his famous projects and perhaps, most interestingly, related “things.” People who search for Wright are also looking for other notable architects. It’s a feature that may remind users of Amazon’s penchant for delivering “people who liked this book also bought or searched for this one” results.

Gomes said that the search results are tailored to deliver information that best relates to the initial search result. So the details delivered about a female astronaut will likely outline her space travel record, because that’s what people who search for her are, according to Google, most interested in.

Google Knowledge Graph Example Thumbnail

How the Knowledge Graph Works. Click to see full graph example

Since this is a knowledge graph (“Web” might be a better word), the results are designed to help you dig more deeply into related topics. Google showed us how someone might start by searching for a local amusement park, find an interesting rollercoaster as one of the “things” that relates to the park and end up digging in on details about that coaster and other similar rides. It’s a “skeleton of knowledge that allows you to explore information on the web,” said Gomes.

There is the potential, Gomes added, of serendipitous discovery. The more you dig into things, the more things you learn about.

Of course, not every “thing” is the right thing. Wikipedia is, for example, a community-sourced encyclopedia that is known for both its breadth and depth of information and the occasional whoppers of misinformation it stores. Google’s Knowledge Graph includes an error reporting system. When users find misinformation, Google will share it with the source and the knowledge graph will get just a little bit smarter

For now, though, the Knowledge Graph is not getting any smarter about you. If you search for an ambiguous topic and then guide Google Search to the more defined set of results, the same query later will not go directly to that filtered information — at least not yet. “We don’t have anything to announce for personalization,” said Gomes.

The Competition

Google’s chief search competitor, Microsoft Bing, also has millions of entities, but it’s not aiming for the purely semantic model of search results. Instead, Bing execs told Mashable that it’s focusing, in part, on much smaller set of segments that its users typically search on (i.e.: restaurants, hotels, movies) and trying to surface relevant information regarding those segments. A search result for hotels, for example, might include reservation tools. And while Google search now blends in Google+ results, Bing’s latest instantiation has moved social information to the right side of its search results page

It’s unclear for now how the Google Knowledge Graph, which pushes aside keyword results in favor of relationships and artificial intelligence, impacts all the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) many web sites have done to push their search rank ever higher. Also unknown is how, if at all, Google’s sea change will impact Google+. Gomes revealed that some Google+ changes were coming “independent of this” update and that Google will be talking about them separately.

Eventually, Google’s search will get smarter and will stop asking for your help to understand your query and start answering complex questions like “What is the coldest lake in the world in July?” It doesn’t matter why you want to know that, just that, someday, the right answer will be a click away on Google Search.

Google’s Knowledge Graph will roll out across the U.S. (and on all Google platforms: desktop, mobile, tablet) in the coming days. Eventually, it will go global. Give it a try and let us know what you think of the brand new Google Search in the comments.

Analyst: Mobile To Overtake PC For Local Search By 2015

Analyst: Mobile To Overtake PC For Local Search By 2015.

Analyst firm BIA/Kelsey has projected that by 2015 there will be more local searches coming from smartphones than PCs  in the US. It’s a bold prediction and one that has logical merit: smartphone search volumes are growing faster than search on the PC. While local search is at least 20 percent of total queries on the PC (per Google) it’s at least 40 percent of smartphone queries, also according to Google.

Mobile vs. PC Local Search Volumes (BIA/Kelsey Forecast)

Source: BIA/Kelsey (2012)

In some categories such as restaurants and travel, mobile searches represent 15 – 20 percent or more of overall query volumes. There can be no dispute that mobile search is now a huge phenomenon. But will it eclipse PC local search query volume in three years?

Let’s think out loud a bit, shall we?

50 Billion Local Queries on the PC

Using the Google 20 percent figure as a guide we can estimate that in March there were approximately 3.7 billion local searches on the PC in the US. In the absence of significant month over month growth that would translate into roughly 44 billion annual local queries coming through US search engines on the PC. But let’s assume modest local query growth and say there will be something on the order of 50 billion local queries on search engines in the US in 2012. (The number could be higher of course.)

Now, how many local-mobile search queries are there?

Answering that question depends on whether we include app-based local search (e.g., Yelp, Foursquare, yellow pages apps, Urbanspoon, etc.). Data from comScore, Localeze and 15 Miles finds that half of US mobile consumers (survey respondents) say they use apps at least some of the time for local search. However, we don’t know the frequency or the volume of in-app search because no one is really tracking those numbers today.

Let’s limit the definition of “mobile search” to browser based search through one of the major US search engines. However right now Google represents about 95 percent of the total “mobile search” market in the US.

12 Billion Local Queries on Smartphones

If there are roughly 125 million smartphone owners in the US (50 percent of 250 million mobile subscribers) and a large number of smartphone owners do an average 20 mobile searches per month, then there are something like 30 billion mobile searches annually right now in the US. (Let’s leave out tablets of this discussion.) If 40 percent of that overall mobile search volume is local, that would mean roughly 12 billion annual local searches on mobile devices. (This number may be slightly inflated today.)

We can assume growth in smartphone penetration and some growth in per-person mobile search query volume — though this assumption is a wild card for several reasons. It also may be a bit risky to assume that the percentage of overall mobile search that is local will continue to climb significantly, though it could reach 50 percent (which is what Microsoft says it is today on Bing).

Let’s assume smartphone penetration reaches 75 percent (say 187 million people) and each person does 40 mobile searches per month (doubling our per-person monthly query assumption). That translates into 90 billion annual mobile queries. If the local percentage of mobile search volume grows to 50 percent, we’d have 45 billion annual local-mobile search queries.

That event would get us pretty close to PC-mobile local search parity, if there weren’t dramatic PC local search growth. However a number of factual assumptions must come to pass. And the future is not guaranteed to look like the past.

What If the Paradigm Shifts?

The proliferation of mobile apps (whether native or HTML5) combined with the rise of Siri and other voice assistants could mean that browser-based mobile search doesn’t grow much over time. Google has cited figures of 130 percent year over year mobile search growth. But there are reasons to believe that the current PC search model on the smartphone small screen will be supplanted, at least to some degree in the relatively near future.

More than a couple of years out it all starts to get very speculative, since mobile is evolving so rapidly. However, regardless of whether the BIA forecast comes true in three years — I don’t think it can without including in-app search volumes — it’s certainly directionally accurate. And one day in the relatively near future it’s clear that people will be using mobile devices to find local information as much or more than their laptops and desktop PCs.

Paid Search, Mobile Spending Increase in Q1 2012 – Search Engine Watch (#SEW)

Paid Search, Mobile Spending Increase in Q1 2012 – Search Engine Watch (#SEW).

Paid Search Spend YoY IgnitionOne

Marketers Spending More on Mobile

Adobe’s report has U.S. marketers increasing their mobile ad spend to 8 percent of all search spend, while those in the U.K. allotted 11 percent to mobile in Q1. Tablets alone accounted for 4.25 percent. Adobe predicts mobile and tablet advertising will continue to appeal to advertisers in the short term, given their “disproportionately” low CPCs, compared to desktop PCs.

IgnitionOne put the amount of U.S. paid search spend dedicated to mobile slightly higher, at 12.4 percent. This represents an overall increase in mobile search spend of 221.1 percent over the same quarter last year, though the report warns that this growth rate has slowed since Q4 2011. Clicks on mobile ads increased 246.1 percent YoY.

Yahoo/Bing Increase Market Share, But Kill Their ROI Advantage Over Google

According to IgnitionOne, Yahoo/Bing had their best quarter since Q2 2010, with a 46.4 percent increase in U.S. search advertising spend YoY. For their part, Google saw lower but no less impressive 26.6 percent growth YoY. Compared to Q4 2011 (the holiday season), Bing actually saw total ad spend increase 14.3 percent, while Google’s spend fell 5.4 percent.

Adobe notes that Google’s CPC fell 5 percent over last year, while Yahoo/Bing CPC rates were 18 percent higher YoY.

“As a result, the Bing/Yahoo ROI advantage over Google no longer exists,” says the report. “Note that when Yahoo Japan converted to the Google ad serving platform from Bing/Yahoo, CPC rates dropped significantly. This indicates that Google, on average, charges a lower premium to search advertisers.”

Outlook for Rest of 2012

Marketers are missing out if they’re not targeting mobile, said Roger Barnette, President of IgnitionOne.

“While the growth in mobile ad spend has been an ongoing trend, I am impressed by the level of activity and click-throughs on tablets. This should be a wakeup call for marketers who are not yet leveraging search advertising on these devices,” Barnette said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Adobe predicts U.S. search spend will increase 10 to 15 percent throughout 2012, with tablets and mobile taking up to 20 percent of all search spend by Q4 2012. Marin Software also recently predicted that smart mobile devices will account for a full 25 percent of paid search clicks on Google by the end of 2012.

Adobe also offers a bit of advice to marketers in their report: “In a rational marketplace, the CPC rates on tablets should be identical to desktop CPC rates if the conversion rates are comparable. Furthermore, current trends indicate that tablets may cannibalize smartphone and desktop search spend as investments continue to shift to tablet devices.”