It’s a question that at some point and time has crossed our minds. Will Google always be the stand alone giant with internet revenue double and even triple the competitions? I think that as long as they keep offering new tools, new promotions, and expanding into new areas, they will stay ahead of the curve.
I recently received site update e-mails about Yahoo and MSN showing the new capabilities and features that they had added. Yahoo now allows users to geo-target at the country, state and zip code level. Google allows the user to do custom geo-targeting. The user actually pulls up a map and draws the area that they want to target. Yahoo still has some catching up to do, but they are definitely making progress.
Let’s look at MSN and how keywords are handled. MSN now enables users to pause their keywords. There used to be a time when the only option was “active” and “delete. It may seem that MSN is behind the curve, but in their defense they have a tool similar to AdWords Editor in beta. Yahoo says they are working on one as well.
It seems that Google will continue to stay ahead of the game because they make it feasible for both small and mid size players to operate effectively. Google has also branched out into other industries. They launched their G1 Google phone with cell phone carrier T-Mobile. They also offer traditional advertising through the internet and give out free 800 tracking telephone numbers for a traditional media buy placed and bought through them. The next thing you know they’ll be a Google shoe. Don’t laugh! Did you ever think they’d launch a phone? It seems that Google is pulling away from the competition and delving into new areas. Only time will tell if the G1 Google phone and the selling of traditional advertising will work for Google. If Yahoo and MSN ever intend to catch up with Google they are going to have to step up their offerings in a number of areas.
With all of the new and exciting things going on in the Search Engine world, it can be a little confusing if you are not up to date on all of the new channels. I recently spoke to a client who has been with MoreVisibility for 5 years. She keeps hearing/reading all of these “buzz words” but is not clear on what they mean and was embarrassed to ask. I told her there is no such thing as a dumb question; the only dumb question is the one that was never asked. She graciously accepted my offer to provide some insight. For those of you who were too afraid to ask:
What is Social Media? Wikipedia defines social media as primarily Internet-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and “building” of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories and experiences.
What is Facebook? Facebook is a social networking site, which is totally free to join. Once you do you can connect and interact with other people, who will be referred to as your “friends”. The site generates revenue from advertisers. Launched in early 2004, the home page states: “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.” On the About page you will find this verbiage: “Facebook gives people the power to share and makes the world more open and connected. Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet.” The website currently has more than 110 million active users worldwide and has surpassed fellow social networking site, MySpace (see below) in terms of monthly unique visitors.
What is MySpace? MySpace is a social networking site that also offers a free membership and was founded in 2003. According to Wikipedia’s definition, “it offers an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music and videos for teenagers and adults internationally. Like Facebook, the site generates revenue from advertisers. The media habitually compares Facebook to MySpace; however, there is a significant difference. MySpace allows users to personalize/decorate decorate their profile, while Facebook does not.
What is Twitter? Twitter is a social networking/micro blogging site that was initiated in 2006. Twitter’s home page states that it is a service for friends, family, and co—workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing? Users then answer in 140 characters or less, which is known as a “tweet”. Twitter is different than Facebook and MySpace in that it has no revenue from advertisers.
What is Yammer? Similar to Twitter, Yammer asks a question, but takes it to another level in terms of being more “office friendly”. What are you working on? The site was launched in September 2008 and is the newest site mentioned in this blog post. Yammer recently won an award at The Tech Crunch 50 Conference for start up companies. This site is also free for the basic service, however, in order to gain more access/control over how employees are utilizing the service, there is a nominal fee of $1 per month, per user.
Communicating the importance of online and offline marketing integration is something that I speak with clients about on a regular basis. As a Client Strategist at an online marketing agency, the typical conversations tend to deal with SEM, SEO, and design efforts. However, I try to stress the importance of understanding their offline marketing efforts, to better implement what we are promoting online. Each medium used in a marketing plan needs to work together to tell a story. That being said, in today’s economy, it is more important than ever to allocate your marketing dollars to the most effective media. Due to the tracking and analytical capabilities of online search marketing, paid search seems to be the first choice for many organizations.
Despite the instability of today’s economy and the decline in traditional media spending, the future of online ad spending in the US looks to increase over the next several years. According to a recent eMarketer report, more than eight out of 10 marketers who spent at least $50,000 per month on paid search said they planned to maintain or increase their spending during the next 12 months. eMarketer estimates that paid search spending will not only rise in 2009, but double between 2009 and 2013, when it will approach $24 billion.
Advertiser’s migration toward search advertising stems from its measurability and accountability functions. Companies are looking for a more defined method to apply to their marketing plans, hence the spending shift from offline traditional media, to online media.
So as 2009 marketing plans are being budgeted for, advertisers need to keep two things in mind. First, advertisers should consider allocating more of their marketing budgets to search and other online initiatives, due to their tracking capabilities. Search spending is on the rise, and every company should be on board! Second, advertisers need to make sure that every marketing effort is integrated together to tell a consistent story. Televisions ads should drive people to search for the products, services and promotions mentioned in the ad. Search needs to represent the same products, services and promotions. The landing page that search traffic drives visitors to needs to represent the same offerings, etc.
Over this next year, I challenge advertisers to work with their marketing team and/or agency to determine the best strategy for the company and its services. Working together will drive the best results!