Google instant v3

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research from MG OMD search team on Google Instant search impact in the UK

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Google instant v3

  1. 1. Headings in Arial Black 26 Subheadings in Arial Bold 20 Body in Arial 20 Google Instant Update
  2. 2. What is Google Instant? Instant is an exciting new search development that launched September 9th , that actually makes the search result pages update before your eyes: changing whilst you type in your query and before you even hit ‘search’. This enhancement has the potential to change the way the people use Google, and essentially, the way people search. Instant leans heavily on Google predictive search, where the most searched terms are offered to the user as suggestions. Instant search updates by following the first in the list of suggestions, until the user hits ‘search’. However, Google Instant is not 100% in the mainstream, as in order to activate Instant you need be logged into your Google Account, make sure it is activated (as shown below), and also using one of the newest browsers. The whole reasoning for this technological push is said to be to speed and Instant has been quoted to save 2-5 seconds per search. ‘If’ everyone globally used Google Instant that would save 350 million hours every year (and 11 hours every second!). Impact is has had on our accounts? We have run some basic analysis in our key paid search accounts at Manning Gottlieb OMD and here follows our findings and broad assumptions. Whist reviewing these results we must bear in mind in viewing these results is that Google Trademark Policy update, also these results have been based on all search traffic not solely that from Instant. First of all, here is a diagram that clarifies what now constitutes an impression
  3. 3. Is Instant affecting how much we now have to pay? Click Through Rate (CTR) and Cost Per Click (CPC) have shown some early signs of change: Key MGOMD clients saw decreases in CTR ranging from 14% to 50%, which could indicate an increase in impressions perhaps due to the new methods of counting these, such as 3 second pauses. In 3 out of 4 clients analysed, CPCs have seen a slight increase of about 6% on average, which is an after affect of the loss of CTR - a major factor of the CPC calculation. Please note that Google’s change in its trademark policy may have contributed specifically to decreases in CTR and thus increases in CPC. Keywords focus is shifting to shorter tail Across all clients analysed, there has been a noticeable increase in single keyword (KW) impressions: we have seen an average increase of about 30% through search query report (SQR) data and for these same clients and date range single KW impressions have increased an average of 22% Where previously a user would type their query in full before clicking enter, or switch to one of the suggested queries this would only register an impression once the user had finished their search. However now, impressions are counted during a three second pause, and as the results update depending on the first suggested query in the list this could have led to an increase in exposure of shorter term queries, but without driving the expected levels of clicks. And what’s happening with misspellings? 3 of 4 clients analysed have also seen drops in misspell keyword impressions, at an average decrease of 9.8%. Below is a good example of how Google is now jumping over misspell keywords, with instant results running off the first of the suggested searches instead.
  4. 4. How will this impact our strategy moving forwards? ‘Most common predicted searches’ is probably the most significant influence Google Instant is having on search results. We’d advise regularly monitoring search query reports, and the prediction box and adding negative keyword selections to control unwanted impressions. If we do not want to appear on top query suggestions, we should add them as exact negatives across our whole account. If we do wish to appear, we should identify the higher spending terms and split them into their own campaigns (if they are not already), and look to optimise the relationship between the ad and the keyword. Any seemingly small gains here could help us counteract any increase in impressions. Rough data estimates so far have suggested that only 5% of searches made at the moment are affected by Google Instant – so reactionary strategies that could applied across all clients could be lacking a little foundation at this point. However, going forward we need to take adoption rate of Instant into consideration. When we start planning search we will need to factor in these changes in search behaviour when considering the impact on CPCs month on month. So, as well as this new development delivering users a faster and arguably better experience, Google are clearly looking to get the best returns from the most competitive areas of the search landscape, where ad depth has reached saturation, and for us this could mean that as we look through 2011 our budgets may not go the distance.

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