Ever wonder how competitors are able to achieve top rankings on otherwise unprofitable keywords? It’s all in the metrics.
Consistent with Google’s 3rd Quarter Earnings and their outlook for 2010, paid search will receive ample 2010 budget dollars within the retail media mix. Because of the efficiency and control paid search gives retailers in yielding sales at an acceptable ROI, most marketers will try to shift as many dollars as possible to paid search and away from less efficient sources. In fact, if asked, most will say they would like paid search to be an even larger part of the mix, if only they could get more scale from the program.
The inability to get more scale out of paid search is sometimes confounding. Within merchandise categories, we frequently see certain retailers owning top spots for a wide swath of keywords which competitors can’t make work. For example, the scale that Merchandiser B wants so badly is going to Merchandiser A, despite the fact that Merchandiser B is a category leader. How does this happen?
The end of Yahoo’s Paid Inclusion is not surprising, but the timing presents challenges for retailers who relied on the program. Below is PM Digital’s quick take and initial recommendations.
Last week Yahoo announced that they are discontinuing their Paid Inclusion program (Search Submit Pro) at the end of this year. The last date Paid Inclusion will be live is December 31, 2009. The discontinuation of the program will include the top level, category level and product level feeds — basically everything.
Yahoo is leaving the program live through the end of the year so that they don’t leave any retailers in the lurch for the holiday season. That said, most Yahoo SSP customers are retailers whose fiscal year ends in January – not December. So Yahoo will in fact be impacting retailers’ full year demand given the loss of revenue for an entire month.
Universal search and vertical search appeal to different types of searchers and searches. But does either appeal to marketers?
We continue to receive a good number of questions about universal search (how can we retain our ranking?) and vertical search engines (should we be using them?) For guidance, below is some topline marketing perspective on the relative strengths and opportunities for each.
With search having become a mainstream necessity for consumers and a lucrative media channel for the search engines, vertical search engines will proliferate over the next few years. Examples include TheFind (consumer goods), Kayak (travel) and MyRide.com (automotive). As far as marketers’ acceptance and use of these as a media channel goes, it will depend on several factors.
Real time search is a game changer, and marketers must begin to master the art of frequency if they want to remain competitive and visible.
Natural search is always changing. And the past few weeks have been no exception. We’ve seen an essential takeover of Yahoo search by Bing, and we’ve seen Google unfurl a new natural search infrastructure with its preview of Google Caffeine. But the most striking change in search (and this is undoubtedly part of the Caffeine update) is the increased indexing speed and visibility of near real time search. On every Google search, there is a spot on the top left of the page for search options.
Value has moved firmly from accessory to necessity. Retailers with a convincing value proposition – be it price, quality or payment terms – will fare best during the year-end holidays.
I’ve just returned from two retail-focused conferences (the Shop.org Annual Summit and another NYC apparel-focused show). The overriding theme at both was that value will be the predominant message of the holiday. Those who promote value and whose message resonates with customers will win, and those who don’t will miss out.
Today we’re on the cusp of the holiday, but back in July, Kmart was already promoting their Christmas tree section. At the time, I read a few articles criticizing the retailer for pushing the season, but I don’t think that was Kmart’s sole mission. Rather, the offer in Kmart’s aisle was layaway, an old fashioned practice whose time is once again appropriate.
Local search ads take mobile leap on iPhone.
Google Sponsored Listings have started to appear within the Maps application installed on every iPhone and iPod touch device. These paid listings appear alongside organic results when users perform relevant searches, helping local customers find appropriate businesses from their mobile phone. PM Digital is working on getting more details on the specifics of this new program and how it relates to Google’s Local Business Ads program.