DigiKnow: Mobile’s Future, Yahoo’s New CEO, Encrypted Search Behavior & Tomorrow’s Targeted Marketing

by Robin Zebroski | Vice President of Digital on July 20, 2012

in DigiKnow, L&S

It was a big week in search. Quarterly earnings statements are out with Google outpacing Yahoo and Bing in search volume growth. No big surprise there, but all eyes are on Yahoo as new CEO Marissa Mayer, a former Google exec, takes the driver’s seat. Also, for our trend watch this week, we’re keeping a close eye on how digital media targeting is going to change the way we buy other forms of media, like TV.

Google Q2 2012: “mobile is where search was in 1999″
Really, 1999?

Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer, Nikesh Arora, announced during Google’s quarterly earnings call this week that, “mobile is where search was in 1999.” Isn’t this hard to believe? I remember search in 1999 – the days when Lycos, Excite, Yahoo, AltaVista and Google were all vying to be the strongest out of the search engine starting gates. And, how can we forget – the days of “keyword stuffing?” And now, think about how core mobile is in our lives. If this correlation is true, mobile in 2013 will reflect the progress search has made in the last few years.

Yahoo Names Google Exec Marissa Mayer as New CEO
A surprise hire will bring fresh thinking to the search legend, Yahoo.

Change is in the air with Yahoo’s new CEO hire. At a time when Google paid search spending is up 32% YTD YoY, Yahoo and Bing trail behind with an increase of 16% YTD YoY. [Source: Search Engine Watch]. With these growth numbers in mind, Yahoo made a good call hiring a search guru from Google. The new CEO, Marissa Mayer, will surely bring new life to Yahoo. While Marissa hasn’t focused on the media aspect of search, she has led the development of the Google search user experience and she’ll bring new, creative technology thinking to Yahoo.

Speaking of search, I still love it when people ask me, “do people even click on those paid ads at the top of the page anyway?” Yes, they do. WordStream created a great infographic that illustrates the battle between paid vs. organic search, showing that “clicks on Google’s paid search ads outnumber clicks on free organic listings by 2:1 for commercial keyword searches.” [Source: Google’s Q2 2012 Earnings Preview].

Translation: if you’re selling something, you best be paying for the top paid placements.

Firefox 14 Encrypts Search Behavior
From people, but not marketers

Firefox 14 will hide your search behavior from people, like network administrators, but not from Google search marketers. Google searches are secure in Firefox to protect your search history on both public and secured WiFi networks. However, interestingly (or conveniently), the encryption will not hide search data from Google search marketers. Google knows that they need to keep us search marketers spending money. It’s yet to be seen how this will impact other forms of targeted digital media that utilizes search behavior.

Moving Beyond Targeting by Demos
Over time, demo targeting will become obsolete for all types of media

Trend watch: we buy all types of media on behalf of our clients; therefore, we’re always looking to make our buys as targeted as possible. Advanced targeting will continue to evolve and over time, and it could even bring consumer segmentation data into the picture for to the big screen.

Check out this article with perspectives from Nielsen Catalina Solutions. A good summary quote from the article says, “Demo targeting tends to treat all consumer groups equally, no matter how active they may be in a given category. According to a new study by Catalina Marketing, just 36 percent of television ad exposures are delivered to the households that account for the vast majority (98 percent) of CPG purchases. Instead of super-serving the relevant ads to the most active consumers, the impressions are spread out equally among viewers who happen to coexist in the same demographic.”

The game will surely change, especially with smart people like this leading the charge. Exciting times are ahead.


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