In case we had any doubts, last week's acquisition of Reprise by The Interpublic Group made one thing abundantly clear: large media companies are looking to buy search firms. Actually, it's not just search that's getting bought up so rapidly -- it's all of new media. The trend will undoubtedly be good for new-media CEOs. It will also do much to push new media ever further into the mainstream marketing mix. But in the short term, there's a serious downside to the acquisition frenzy: it's a terrible development for employee retention.
There's a subtle but fascinating shift going on in the search marketing space today. It is the definition of what being in the search business means, and more importantly, what it is going to mean. Even Google has gotten in on the act. Eric Schmidt was quoted in a Wired interview as saying, of the search giant, consumers should "think of it first as an advertising system." Now pardon me for speaking out of both sides of my mouth, but "Thank you for your honesty" and "What?!?!?"
I was forcefully fit into the proverbial "other shoes" last week, and it was a disconcerting experience. I was behaviorally targeted in an unmistakable way, and I had to come to personal terms with the new reality of marketing. I've written about behavioral targeting a number of times in the past, but always from a marketer's perspective. From that viewpoint, there's a lot I like about behavioral targeting. But last week, the crosshairs drew a bead on my forehead and I became the hunted, not the hunter. And I have to tell you, I'm having mixed feelings about it.
Yesterday marked the first day of the Search Engines Strategies conference in New York City, which continues until this Friday morning. In the midst of crowded halls and session rooms filled with attendees decked out in (cold-weather) spring attire, here are a few things I was able to capture in what turned out to be a fast-paced day of sessions, meetings and speed mingling.
What's the value of advertising with Google? With Google's forays into television advertising, can there be a uniform value proposition? Google's advertising offerings can be grouped into three overarching categories: search, contextual, and offline media. The three are connected to each other, but the offerings aren't identical, so if you're an advertiser, what exactly is Google bringing to the table? For each of these three categories, we'll briefly review the inventory, targeting, and pricing, and then determine where advertisers will ultimately find the most value.
The world has long been transfixed by Google's boundless expansion into new media channels, from YouTube to Google's print classifieds. But while much has been noted about Google's desire to extend its reach, far less has been said about Google's aims at extending its depth, which it hopes to gain by pushing deeper into advertisers' Web sites.
This month's spotlight falls on video search. While Google and Yahoo offer this service, smaller companies are also making a stir, such as Blinkx, Flurl and SearchVideo.
A recent blog post by Anil Batra, formerly from Revenue Science, speculates that Google will soon be getting into behavioral targeting. Another post by A-list blogger Robert Scoble indicates that Google may be dialing down the presentation of sponsored ads for certain queries. Combine this with a few conversations I've had recently with Googlers, and it seems the company is already setting its sights beyond the search results page when it comes to revenue generation. One starts to get a sense of the footprint that Google is planning to put down on the future online landscape.
Anyone who has ever worked or karaoked with me knows that I'm vigilant about verbiage and a stickler for semantics. And readers of my last two Search Insider columns know that I'm on a video kick, contemplating a Google acquisition of blinkx and the best way to monetize online video. Today, my predispositions collide with my muse as I drill down on the intent of video queries and concede that maybe I'm looking at this topic through the wrong lens. It was a recent demo of the soon-to-be-released Online Video Guide from TV Guide that shook me to my Query …
Google, I know you're so busy with everyone offering you a nice Googlish girl to bring home to Mountain View. Rumors have swirled about matches with DoubleClick, Omniture, and even little Riya. But Google, have I got a match for you! She's a little old for your tastes, but she loves watching television. I hear you've been watching a lot of TV too lately, haven't you?