International search engines continue to gain attention. When Baidu reported Q3 earnings this week, company executives revealed that consensus estimates had been exceeded by 6%, telling investors and analysts to expect another 8% jump in Q4. Baidu's performance, driven by continued improvements to its Phoenix Nest paid-search platform, could put returns on par with Google long-term.
Online activity while shopping in stores continues to gain popularity. A Performics study conducted by ROI Research released Thursday reveals that consumers turn to social between 20% and 50% of the time, and search between 18% and 62% of the time, to find information about products.
No one ever disputed the ability of Google employees to market stuff and create buzz. But it will take more than a well-honed message to deliver value, or at least perceived value. It takes products that work for the masses.
Online purchases have become incredibly easy. Much easier than having to walk into a store and locate the item, only to find the retailer has sold out of your size. I've become more impatient with physical stores as search technology continues to improve. Not only can you find more selections online because retailers don't want to house slower-moving merchandise, but searching for a specific product simply means entering a keyword or descriptive term to return relevant items.
Several months ago, while interviewing a few search executives, I began asking whether marketers could bid on keywords that might relate to similar interests or traits. I came up with this idea from my study of ways to build characters for nonfiction books, through a Master's in Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. Little did I know at the time that the strategy known as interest- and trait-based keywords would become a hot topic for marketers.
What search and paid-search ads will look like in the future could become a topic for a PhD. dissertation. A few things have triggered these thoughts. Among them, Google's introduction of Dynamic Search Ads, Kenshoo CMO Aaron Goldman's Search Insider Summit forthcoming presentation on "The Perfect Search Engine," and iCrossing SVP Gary Stein's ClickZ post titled "Speak to Me: Mobile, Voice, and Your Ad."
Google introduced custom search ads for mobile apps Wednesday. The ads, intended to provide "useful and relevant answers" for people searching in a mobile app, also help application developers earn more money to fund their apps.
What future signals can marketers expect to see to better understand the context of searches and deliver the correct types of results? These future signals in the context of a consumer search can help deliver information to serve up better results across all platforms. Marketers will begin to see location and proximity, as well as the speed of someone traveling in a car, to determine search results. There are more than a dozen signals incorporated into mobile, compared with desktop search.
Search marketers have been pondering the influence of social on search for, well, a long time. Personality traits help marketers that are targeting ads and campaigns to understand social graphs based on human characteristics. The concept of tracking individual characteristics is not new, but how influential are those social signals when it comes to search engine marketing (SEM)?
Surprise! (not). Google will shut down Buzz, along with its API, Google Code Search, Jaiku, and several other services. The news follows CEO Larry Page's statement last week during the company's Q3 2011 earnings call that it would continue to shut down some services to focus on specific products.