Just once I'd like to read an article about the search engines' deployment of demographic targeting technologies that didn't mention the phrase "Holy Grail." But all hype aside, the fact that Google has at long last introduced demographic targeting to the placement targeting component of Adwords is a welcome development, especially for direct response marketers who've been using this method for years.
If it manages to pass into law, the net effect of Richard Brodsky's bill -- which mandates that the likes of Yahoo, Google and Microsoft provide the ability to opt out from tracking -- is likely to be minimal.
Last month an interesting thing happened to me. I became the "subject" rather than the "solver." Having given advice to brands and businesses on how to use search engine marketing to manage their online reputation, I was suddenly faced with needing to manage my own. It was a small incident -- but one that drove home the powerful role search engines play in online reputation management.
The buzz in Midtown Manhattan last week was a strange mix of major events in New York politics and financial markets, a St. Patrick's Day parade, and yes, a search engine marketing conference. This setting of a parade surrounded by transition was somewhat fitting, as the Search Engine Strategies NYC conference at the Midtown Hilton was a departure from past conferences (this was my fourth SES in NYC).
Google, I'm convinced, is not in the search business after all. It's in the business of screwing up my column predictions. Last week, I concluded, "In 2011, mobile search spending may only represent 5% of search spending, but that in turn may be the 5% that matters most for those consumers." So what does Google do? It launches a mobile discovery engine.
The weather was wet and rainy for SES NY, and things seemed quieter than in years past. I couldn't help noticing that there was plenty of unoccupied exhibitor space on the third level, foot traffic seemed light, and you could even find a seat at the hotel lobby bar, where in years past people used to wait four deep to order a drink.
Anyone who has dealt with Google knows that one of the unwavering points of view coming from Mountain View and beyond is that if the system is working for you, there should never be a cap on what you should spend. The rationale goes that if you are able to hit your metrics using Google, then you should constantly have 100% share of voice -- and the checkbook should remain open while they hand you the pen to put your signature in place, leaving it to them to fill in the amount.
In a recent opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal, Esther Dyson described the growing irrelevance of traditional online ads, and the growing importance of advertising on social networks. She contended that Internet users have become inattentive to ads due to their lack of relevance to site visitors (so-called "banner fatigue"). She also predicted that someday (soon?) people will be able to "friend" advertisers and only see their ads -- or offers tailored to the information users have chosen to supply -- on pages of specific sites they visit.
It's become quite fashionable to speculate about companies that could unseat Google. As I write this, there are nearly 100,000 matches on Google for the query "Google Killer." Not one to miss a fashion trend, I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon here.
Everyone's had visions for the future of mobile, and now that the buzz on mobile marketing is back again, it's a good time to do a spot check on my own prognosticating on mobile search. The timing's especially relevant for me, as I've finally joined the ranks of mobile Web surfers in earnest, with a recent upgrade to a smartphone (namely the Samsung SCH-i760 from Verizon)....