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Maybe it’s a symptom of Christmas shopping fever, but the struggle between Google, Yahoo and Microsoft for Internet Advertising dollars seems to be hitting a new high.
Google, the top dog in the online advertising kennel, taking part of the growing trend for online shopping by offering a number of deals tied up with its Checkout purchasing system.
For each $1 spent by American consumers, it is offering two frequent flyer miles on seven major airlines, and is also offering discounts of between $5 and $50 at many different merchants, the New York Times reports.
eBay, whose PayPal system is Checkout’s chief rival, also has top deals with brands like Toys ‘R’ Us and Hewlett Packard.
Google’s deals are sure to drive sales and bring its share price closer to the $900 predicted by Credit Suisse.
Meanwhile Yahoo is looking to capitalise on internet retail, although its hosted shopping services suffered outages on Monday (November 26th), traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
The problems were down to heavy holiday traffic, with perhaps even the leading internet companies underestimating how many consumers would flock to the web to make their Christmas purchases.
This is symbolic of the massive audience for internet advertisers.
Meanwhile, commentators are predicting that Microsoft may buy Yahoo, or that Yahoo may buy AOL, in order to compete more effectively with the behemoth that is Google.
“Google has locked up the number one spot in the sector, and the market won’t support more than three competitors,” said Henry Blodget writing in the Silicon Alley Insider.
Search marketing can improve your website’s position on Google and the other search engines.
As anyone who has a product they can sell through a website will know, Marketing plays a vital part in reaching out to an audience. It’s all very well having the best product in the world, but if no-one knows about it, it’s not going to sell. Marketing, including Internet Marketing, is the best way to address this problem.
Marketers need to identify the needs and desires of consumers, and then to raise awareness of a product that will be useful or desirable for them. Essentially, marketing is a means of recruiting new customers and retaining existing ones – and in today’s fast-changing retail world, it is quite simply critical.
The internet provides a ready-made audience of millions, but marketers need to take the correct steps in order to put their product before them. Website owners have an advantage in that online audiences are growing, while newspapers, radio and (to a lesser degree) TV are in decline.
This is illustrated by the fact that Google recently overtook ITV1 in terms of advertising revenues. Figures from the search engine showed that it made £327 million in advertising for the July to September period, as opposed to the £317 million made by the TV channel.
Another key benefit is that smaller businesses can effectively compete with larger companies using internet marketing, because they don’t need a huge budget for an expensive print media or billboard campaign.
But how do small businesses and other webmasters take advantage?
Search engine marketing
One tried-and-tested method is search engine marketing. This can include search engine optimization (SEO), whereby websites are boosted in Google, Yahoo, etc by containing more relevant keywords and fresh, ever-changing content, as well as through Link Building.
As the BBC notes, “one of the most important factors in deciding how relevant particular sites are is to count how many other sites link to it”, and responsible link building increases a site’s credibility.
Paid search is also popular, with companies bidding on certain keywords and having their ads displayed at the side or the top of the main results pages of the search engines.
Finally, a fast-evolving method is viral marketing,
whereby social networks are used to spread awareness of a brand or product, in a self-replicating way similar to the spread of a virus.
The internet is particularly well-suited to this process because of the popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, and because of the emerging trend for other collaborative projects and spaces.
A recent example was the Guinness viral campaign that trailed the launch of its latest television ad.
Google shares are set to reach $900, boosted by Credit Suisse, which has raised its target price from $800 to $900 due to anticipated growth over the coming five years in online advertising.
Google’s shares rose by more than five per cent on the news, eventually settling at three per cent higher ($645) on the Nasdaq.
Should the search engine’s takeover of internet advertising firm DoubleClick be finalised, Google will be able to consolidate its already strong grip on the online advertising market. Advertising on web-enabled mobile phones is set to further boost the company’s cofers.
Credit Suisse analyst Heath Terry told Reuters: “We believe that search is a natural monopoly business and expect that over time Google will continue to gain share until they have effectively reached 100 per cent.”
He believes that Google’s search business can grow at the astonishing rate of 38 per cent a year over the next five years.
Search marketing is an effective way for website owners to boost their online presence.
Internet Advertising spend is set to climb by 85 per cent over the 2006 to 2009 period, ClickZ reports.
According to ZenithOptimedia figures, online video and local search will be the primary drivers for this growth. Until 2009, the company expects an annual growth rate in internet advertising of 23 per cent.
Jonathan Barnard, ZenithOptimedia’s head of publications, said that it was impossible to predict what may happen in the online sector.
“At this stage nobody really knows what the successful model of the future will be,” said Barnard. “There is a lot of experimenting.”
However, he did point out that there is a definite trend for advertisers to shift dollars from newspapers to the online channel.
“Newspapers are losing directly to the internet, either to other classifieds, search, or auction sites,” he said. “Their websites tend to be quite large and get advertising, but unfortunately they are not making enough to offset offline.”
As well as this, he noted that advertisers who only have a small market in which they sell can also benefit from online advertising.
This clearly shows that smaller businesses would be fools not to get into online advertising, and link building can help them do that.
You knew this was coming, so why are you in shock? A new company, Ass-Vertise / Assvertise is already landing new clients with its innovative human-ass billboards. Stare at the bum of an appealing lady OR man in NYC, and you’ll find yourself reading ads, including those shown for the New York Health & Racquet Club. The company claimns to be based on the simple philosophy that “If you want to be seen, go where people are already looking, “Ass-vertising involves putting a logo, a web address, or a brief message on the seat of a pair of bikini style panties. The panties are work by beautiful girls and revealed when appropriate in a ‘mooning’ fashion, often accompanied by a ‘Hey, check this out,” or a slogan tailored by you, our beloved Client.”
Bottoms Up: When advertisers are looking for methods to grab the attention of young men, there are no ifs or ands, but there are plenty of butts.
Hope you like our new assvertisment
There are a lot of very good search engine optimization firms to choose from, and there are a lot (too many) of firms that say they do search engine optimization but end up being a waste of time and money. I hope today’s article will help you separate the wheat from the chaff.
When you begin your vendor selection process, you should start by defining your needs and goals. So many people enter into the selection process with no idea of what their goals may be other than, “We want to rank on page one of Google.” Here are some other issues to consider.
What Are Your goals?
Are you interested in branding, or more likely, are you interested in how search engine optimization can help you grow your business? To me, growing your business at a good ROI should be the ultimate goal. Just like you would measure any form of marketing, you should determine what the ROI should be from your search engine optimization efforts.
If you are not an e-commerce Web site, but you have a lead form on your site, you can determine a value to place on each lead that comes through your search engine optimization efforts and measure against that. If you get a majority of your leads/inquiries through someone calling, perhaps your goal is an increase in relevant traffic to the site. In that case, you can determine the value of each “click” from your search engine optimization efforts and then tally up the total clicks per month, measuring this against the cost of the program.
Saying this, I should remind everyone that proper search engine optimization takes time, so it’s best to evaluate year-over-year increases. This valuation should occur after the recommendations from your provider have been implemented for a minimum of two to three months. It has been my experience that measurable increases from your search engine optimization efforts will occur no sooner than this timetable, but each Web site is unique.
No two Web sites are the same. Every search engine optimization project will have its unique set of challenges/needs. If there’s anything that irritates me, it is search engine optimization firms that have “packages.” Some Web sites are new to launch and will require a lot more work to get the ball rolling (link building, among other things). Some Web sites are high-quality but may lack visible text, so they may require copywriting assistance. And then there are some that have many technical challenges, which may require a talented Web development team to sort through the issues.
Another thing to consider here is your available human resources pool, or lack thereof. Do you have a Web developer who can take the recommendations provided by a search engine optimization company and can accurately implement these recommendations? Would your company allow an outside vendor access to your Web site to make changes that may be necessary to assist in the search engine optimization efforts?
The catch 22 of all of this is a smaller company will probably require the most amount of help. A smaller company would probably not have a copywriter on staff, a development team, a public relations department, or any other resources to assist in these efforts. That means you would depend on your search engine optimization provider to bring all of its resources to the project. The more resources needed, the more amount of time the provider would be involved in. The more amount of time needed, the more money you can expect to spend.
Once you have managed to match your needs/goals with a list of providers you would like to contact, it’s now time to ask some very important questions.
How many search engine programs has your provider managed? I’m not saying that a shear number of projects is the key in the selection process, but years of experience can be very beneficial. Knowing what works in the long term is key to your achieving results that last and are not overly dependant on algorithm updates.
If they guarantee top-ten rankings, run. Don’t walk. Run. There is no such thing as guaranteed top-ten rankings in organic search engine optimization. We (search engine optimization companies) do not own the search engines. We are similar to a public relations firm in that we know how to best position you with the search engines, but the search engines – ultimately – will rank you based upon their criteria. A good search engine optimization firm understands the criteria and can, over time, help you to enhance your presence in the major search engines.
If they tell you they are going to submit your Web site to hundreds or thousands of search engines, you might want to consider another provider. Submission to the major crawler-based search engines, other than possible XML feeds, is not necessary. Quality link building (internally and externally) will get your site well indexed.
Can they show you live examples of their work and the results? Any firm worth its salt will be more than happy to point you to live examples of rankings and testimonials from clients. They should have a deep pool of references for you to call and speak with.
I think this is one aspect of the selection process that is often overlooked. Many search engine optimization companies are not willing to divulge what it is that they do. Again, there are many very good search engine optimization firms that will want you to be educated in the process. The more you understand search engine optimization, the easier it will be to work with you.
After all, you will know why certain recommendations are being made, and you will become a champion in the efforts to get recommendations implemented and in pushing the program forward. There is little more frustrating than working with a large company that cannot seem to get the IT team to buy off on the recommendations or puts them on the back burner for weeks. So, the more you understand, the more you will be able to help the search engine optimization company do its job, and the more successful you will all be.
Hope this helps! If there are any topics you would like me to cover in future articles, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
Online advertising is changing the rules of engagement within the advertising industry. As more and more companies question their current marketing mix, expenditures and return on investment, online advertising gains power and pull.
Answers to some frequently asked questions about the merits of online advertising, the future of online and offline media and hottest opportunities in the market.
Q: What are some of the major trends in online advertising?
A: Search is becoming the dominant form of online advertising, increasing the sophistication of search engine results and content as well as the consolidation of industry players. Market pricing will function more like network television, although the web still remains the great equalizer: Small business will continue to buy a significant share of online advertising because it’s effective, easy to buy and the same medium used by the big boys. Because of its inherent measurability, online advertising is already having an effect on the accountability of all advertising.
Q: When will online advertising really start to take off?
A: It’s already taken off, most dramatically a year or so ago. It was also consumed by entrepreneurial direct marketers that figured out economic models after the easy money exited the marketplace. Many of these upstarts have had to evolve into far more sophisticated players, as the market and competition have grown and matured.
Q: What advantages does online advertising have compared to print, for example?
A: In most ways that impact the bottom line, online outperforms print media. That is not to say print media is without value, but as the marketplace grows more digital (and therefore more accountable) the ability to track, measure, and optimize the results generated by media are difficult to beat. Print’s strengths include highly targeted or niche audiences and the business-to-business sector–though search is impacting that as well.
Q: What are the opportunities for specific markets, such as the real estate industry?
A: Real estate is a big opportunity, and the majority of decisions today are already influenced by online content and advertising. The challenge here is in capturing and organizing oceans of data, images, and entities in a super fragmented industry that is eminently localized. Sounds like a sweet market for a Google invasion, but upstarts like Zillow are doing a great job.
Q: What other areas of online advertising would be smart to invest in? Are there any areas that are untapped?
A: Online video is growing fast, but barely tapped. Online music and audio advertising opportunities are also hot. While Apple and pirated music dominate, upstarts like Soundpedia are taking the music world in a new direction and have a real plan to optimally leverage online music (which is likely to converge with online video as an ad vehicle). Another area is specialized local price and quality shopping engines–at least those that the major search engines index favorably–generally due to strong focus and a good SEO (search engine optimization) team.
Q: What online advertising listings do you predict will be popular in 2008?
A: Yahoo, already a monster in the category, will make significant strides in 2008 and 2009. Despite some organizational issues, they have some excellent people as well as the wherewithal to pull together a high-performing set of online advertising vehicles in an exceedingly scalable manner. Also, Yahoo Search is improving, but is still not as easy as Google AdWords. Yahoo’s acquisition of Right Media was a boost for smaller shops, as the auction model they implement allows savvier online advertising buyers to potentially outperform larger rivals cost effectively.
Q: What about digital game ads?
A: In-game advertising is getting a lot of traction. When you consider there is a generation that thrives on high-end video games, IM and text messaging, it’s easy to see why these ads have great value. Game consoles are turning into living room PCs on the web, They stand to dominate the attention of an exceedingly valuable demographic.
Q: Are there any interesting statistics readers should be aware of?
A: Online advertising has become a major opportunity for a majority of marketers. With so many options, however, it’s easy to confuse a strategy. Focus, and working with people that are experienced in pulling together a solution either in-house, outsourced, or some combination is the first step. Do the homework, keep expectations realistic and focus on learning about how a product or business responds within the online medium. The same advice applies for marketers already in the medium that are seeking growth of their programs and results
Online advertising spend in the US is set to outgrow the amount spent in newspapers by 2011, according to a new study.
Figures from the Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS) report predict that internet advertising will grow by more than 21 per cent per year to reach a total of $62 billion in 2011, exceeding the predicted $60 billion spent on newspapers.
It was also shown that spending on alternative advertising, including internet, mobile, video games and digital out-of-home, grew by 36.6 per cent last year to $26.53 billion. In stark contrast, traditional advertising spend only grew by 2.4 per cent to $183.21 billion over the same period.
James Rutherfurd, executive vice president and managing director at VSS, commented: “Leading national advertisers have accelerated their diversion of dollars from traditional print and broadcast media to alternative digital platforms to combat media and audience fragmentation, increased consumer control and multitasking, and the growing impact of advanced technology on conventional media models.
“The result has been the extraordinary growth of alternative advertising and marketing.”
A separate survey by Burst Media highlighted the fact that the internet has become very important in many women’s lives, which is great news for internet advertisers.
Boost your web presence with link building.
NEW YORK: Yahoo! has rushed to counter the growing threat from Google in the market for online advertising, agreeing to pay $680 million to take control of Real Media, a company that runs an “exchange” where advertisers can buy space on thousands of niche websites.
The deal comes less than a month after Google paid $3.1 billion to buy DoubleClick, the web’s largest advertising network, whose technology is used to place display ads – banners, pop-ups and video ads – on to websites.
Yahoo! has fallen behind Google in the market for text adverts that are generated when an Internet user types a search query, and it is determined not to risk becoming an also-ran in display advertising.
Real Media uses an open auction system rather than a closed network for bringing together buyers and sellers of advertising space, and Yahoo! hopes that putting its muscle behind the auction will give it the edge over Google’s DoubleClick.
By making its own network of web pages available through the auction, Yahoo! also hopes to solve one of advertisers’ biggest Internet headaches.
“The blight of online advertising is the fragmentation problem,” says Andrew Frank of the market research group Gartner. “It is very hard for a large advertiser to amass a large quantity of premium advertising space because the audience is spread out across a vast array of niche sites.
“Advertisers are not spending as much more money online as people are spending more time online, and there is a value gap between what advertisers are willing to spend and what they are able to buy.”
Yahoo!’s chief executive Terry Semel said Right Media gave the company a big advantage as advertisers look to switch resources to the web.
“There is an enormous opportunity coming in the near-term future,” he said.
New York-based Right Media was founded just four years ago, and has grown rapidly so that more than 20,000 buyers and sellers every day trade ads that appear on an average 4bn page impressions. It takes a commission of eight per cent on each deal, and is expected to reach break-even at the end of this year.
Yahoo! bought a 20pc stake in the Right Media last October, but the full takeover announced yesterday gives the company a valuation more than four times that which it had just six months ago. Partly that reflects the speed with which online advertising is growing and the benefits of combining Real Media with Yahoo!. But it also underscores Yahoo!’s increasing desperation to shore up its defences against Google, under chief executive Eric Schmidt, which, since the DoubleClick deal, threatens to dominate both search-based and display advertising on the internet.
Youssef Squali, analyst at Jefferies & Co, highlighted two reasons why Yahoo! had to get its chequebook out quickly. The DoubleClick deal was likely to spark further consolidation among Internet advertising specialists, and DoubleClick itself is poised to become a much more serious threat to Right Media.
“DoubleClick launched an ad exchange a few days before it was acquired by Google,” Mr Squali said. “Versus Right Media, we believe that DoubleClick will compete effectively due to its large installed base of publishers.”
The acquisitions of DoubleClick by Google and now Right Media by Yahoo! throw the spotlight now on Microsoft, the next largest seller of search-based advertising on the Internet and a company keen to expand in display advertising. Online advertising specialists, though, are becoming more pricey. Mr Youssef said: “We believe consolidation is spurring large players into action and driving up valuations for the group as a whole.”