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Monday, October 18, 2010

Five Change at Google Affecting Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Five Google Changes Affecting Your Automotive Digital Marketing Strategy Today!

Research firm SearchIgnite estimates Google's share of U.S. ad spending among search engines rose to more than 80% in the third quarter of 2010. Automotive marketers and their Advertising agencies pay a bit more for keywords at Google than at any other search engine.

Google is a market maker not only in Paid Search but also in Organic Search, Mobile, Email and more. Several Automotive Internet Marketers have been heard saying "we live in a Google world".

So, when Google makes changes, auto industry Internet Marketers must sit up and take notice and know how to proceed accordingly.

Listed below are 5 key Google changes anyone working in automotive marketing and advertising should be aware of. Each change listed includes recommendations for what to do about them.

1. Google Instant

In an effort to deliver faster, more relevant search results, Google has launched its Instant program. Four factors distinguish Google Instant from a traditional Google search:

  • Google Instant shows a list of keywords and queries and serves the results it predicts you want based on your initial characters.
  • The results page refreshes with presumably more accurate results as you type more characters.
  • Google Instant personalizes the results to reflect the information it has on you, including previous search history, location and preferences (for logged-in Google account holders).
  • The list of suggested keywords pushes down the initial search results, showing only 4 to 5 instead of the usual list of 10 or so. The full list displays once the searcher submits the query.

Some search experts predicted Google Instant's personalization feature spelled the end of SEO. Others worry that the shorter list of initial results will hurt "long-tail" searches if searchers stop going deeper to find lower-ranked searches.

As Jill Kocher noted in a Practical Ecommerce article (see Related Links below), Google Instant will likely generate more competition for the "head" of the search results while marketers who benefit more from "tail" searches might lose out.

What you need to do now: Review your search results from before and after Sept. 8, 2010, the day Google Instant launched. See if you notice a measurable falloff in traffic.

We, at Web Digest For Marketers, have been tracking Google traffic since then and found no sizable difference as of this writing.

Related Links:

2. Gmail Priority Inbox

Email marketers raised a ruckus when Google remodeled the Gmail inbox, using click activity, contact lists and other factors to separate email into three categories: "Important," "Starred" and "Everything Else."

The move reflected the growing trend among ISPs to consider relevance and activity when deciding whether to admit or block a commercial email message.

The biggest concern among marketers was that their messages would go unseen in the "Everything Else" category if subscribers became trained to read only messages in the "Important" list.

What you need to do: Priority Inbox is a potential problem for marketers who have large inactive segments on their email lists. However, Gmail addresses usually account for only a small percentage of most lists. Check yours to see if Gmail addresses make up 10% or more of your list.

Sign up for a Gmail account if you don't already have one. Send your company email messages to it in order to see where Gmail sorts them.

Also, take steps to wake up your inactive subscribers, which will benefit your list and email program as a whole and reduce problems with ISPs that are beginning to factor in relevance and activity in their inbox decisions.

Related Link:


3. Google Goggles

This is Google's entry into visual search. It analyzes pictures taken with a smartphone's barcode scanner and delivers search results that appear to match the information from the picture.

Google Goggles is a cool idea, but it works better with some elements than others. For example, it read a book cover accurately, delivering a link to the book's Amazon listing, the author's Web page and a discussion forum for people to talk about the book.

However, when we pointed an Android phone at the John Hancock Center (an iconic feature of the Chicago skyline), Google Goggles didn't recognize it. It did much better at recognizing the Cheesecake Factory restaurant on the building's ground floor.

What you need to do: Although it's probably too edgy to be useful outside a major metropolitan area, more people might be using it now that Google Goggles is available on the iPhone.

Be sure to list your company in the local business listings on Google Places and tune up your SEO and AdWords campaigns to be sure your business can be found in Google Search.

Related Links:

4. AdWords Campaign Experiments

This handy tool for heavy AdWords marketers allows you to do real-time A/B split tests on your AdWords campaigns the same way you do split tests on your website and in your email messages or direct mailings.

You can use it to test just about any optimization goal, such as increasing conversions and traffic, reducing costs and evaluating how different ad texts affect message success.

Any aspect of your AdWords program is also open to testing, including bid testing, keyword choices in bidding or ad copy, ad group matching or site exclusions, frequency capping, negative keywords and many other options.

Although you'll still have to pay for the ads you run during testing, you could learn some valuable lessons that will either help you eliminate some spending, reduce your bid prices or spend money more intelligently.

What you should do now: Locate the Getting Started page and set up your campaign.

Related Links:

5. Google Insights for Search

Google recently expanded this useful business-intelligence tool to include even more data sources. Now you can search images, news and products as well as doing a standard web search.

Add capabilities to search by a specific time period, location (right down to a specific metro area) and category. Business owners, search marketers and others can use this information to refine ad campaigns, measure interest and demand and a thousand other possibilities.

To test it, we wanted to see how interest varied among fans of different NFL football teams throughout the year, information that would benefit team marketers and merchandisers.

Using the search term "Green Bay Packers," we chose a data source ("Web Search") time period ("Last 12 months") and region ("Wisconsin," all metro areas). Next, we reran the query using image search instead.

Web search interest mirrored team events with markedly higher searches during regular and post-season games, training camp and the annual draft.

The number of image searches was more consistent throughout the year. This should tell webmasters to keep image content fresh all year long to satisfy fan interest.

What you should do now: Start playing with this juiced-up tool. See how you can slice and dice the data to find fresh insights into how you can market your business or products.

Related Link:

[Sent from Ralph Paglia's iPhone]

Ralph Paglia
Director - Digital Marketing
ADP Dealer Services
cell: 505-301-6369 
office: 480-421-5005

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