Google asserts that 1 in 5 searches are location based.
This gave impetus for Google Places (formerly Local Business Center). Google Places expands on Place Pages, which allows a business to “claim” their own MerchantCircle-like listing that feeds Google Search and Google Map (e.g. California Pizza). In addition to such banal things as hours of operation and coupons, Google Places supports customized QR Codes (via Favorite Places) and — for just $25 per month — businesses in select cities can make their listings stand out with Google Tags.
Aside: For the uninitiated, Google automatically generates these pages regardless of whether or not you have a physical business address so it would be wise to claim your listing if for no other reason then to ensure the information is accurate. It is free for one location (city).
Yesterday, Twitter announced you can tag Tweets with specific places and create new Twitter Places. You can also click a Twitter Place within a Tweet to see recent Tweets from a particular location. A really cool feature here is you can publish check-ins from Foursquare and Gowalla directly to Twitter. This means that if you click on a Twitter Place you’ll see standard Tweets and check-ins from these location-based services. Twitter will be rolling out Twitter Places in 65 countries over the next few weeks so expect to see a “Add Your Location” link below a Tweet box near you.
As far as Twitter challenging Google? Not really. Incorporating hyperlocal features has been a big trend in social media and online marketing at large. Both Twitter Places and Google Places are powerful weapons for any marketer to have in their arsenal.
eMarketer revised its forecast last week for US. Internet ad spending upward to 10.8% growth this year compared with 2009 (versus 5.5% it had predicted in December). This means US Internet ad spending will total $25.1 billion this year, after declining 3.4% last year.
Google’s reported 21% jump in net US ad revenue for 1Q10 (compare this to the 5.3% gain in last year’s Q1) was a the impetus for eMarketer to re-evaluate how fast the sector is rebounding. eMarketer said it anticipates that search spending will increase 15.7% this year, while banner ad spending will jump 8.2% and video spending will increase 48.1%.
In addition, in both the US and Europe, emphasis on accountability and return on investment (ROI) are causing more marketers to turn to search engine marketing and optimization tactics.
As a follow up to my earlier post Google Makes Good on New DoubleClick Ad Exchange, AdAge reports that the number of people online who click display ads has dropped 50% in less than two years and only 16% of US Internet users are clicking. Nevertheless, ComScore maintains that display ads are still effective when paired with Paid Search. This is probably true enough but I would add to the mix optimized Landing Pages. And of course, good creative and a compelling offering helps.
Personally, I never felt impressions or click-throughs were a valid measurement of ROI in the digital world. Yes, there is something to be said about the value of people just seeing your brand but I’m not convince this is enough to justify the costs. It is too easy to exaggerate these numbers and their significance on engagement.
Displays ads (and the way they are measured) are transplants from print where advertising is passive, one-way. If the copy is clever, the imagery provocative, and the message on point, you can acquire mind-share in the reader’s brain (whether she realizes it or not). Mind-share is fleeting in our information saturated world (the average American is exposed to over 3,000 commercial messages a day, blah, blah, blah) which is why you must repeat your message often and everywhere. We all know that.
But online display ads don’t have to be passive. This is the Web, baby! You can create a multimedia experience that interacts with the visitor, maybe even “know” what she is doing, and be the empathic gateway to a meaningful exchange. Now that’s mind-share that sticks. Don’t know what I mean then check out Nike’s The Human Race 10K (kinda eerie).
In short, display ads have their place in the marketing mix. But to be truly effective at engagement, think outside the box. Better still, think: online there is no box.
Read the entire AdAge article here.
Google has offered display ads for a while but it had yet to truly leverage its much-touted acquisition of DoubleClick some 18 months ago, that is, until today with the arrival of its automated Ad Exchange, combining the strengths of Google’s search-engine auction system (AdWords) with the display ad management of DoubleClick. You can read all about it in The New York Times.
This dovetails nicely with Google’s new Display Ad Builder which it announced last month.
It will be interesting to watch this as online display ads have yet to prove to be as popular as textual ads. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, online search advertising sales in the United States totaled $10.5 billion last year while display ads totaled $7.6 billion. The other side of this coin is that ad spend in general is being diverted to other forms of online marketing, namely Social Media, which is some cases yields higher returns with the benefit of having ongoing relationships with customers.