Advertising online has been growing with a significant pace for years and is accelerating across the globe. This is a positive indicator for economic outlooks as agencies and businesses are spending money to reach their customers. Secondly, this is a positive indicator for the health of online marketing and advertising on the platform. Many top tier SEO firms also engage in paid search management and coordinate their offerings together in order to bring the greatest return for customers. As a result, growth figures of current and predictive levels of spending are valuable pieces of information.
Looking at the numbers, the total amount of online ad spend worldwide for this year will be $107.33 billion which represents 20% of total ad spending, including all its forms, across the globe. The rate of growth is increasing globally, but it is predicted that it will slow to nearly half that growth rate in 2016. All these latest figures come from recent reports from eMarketer.
During the time of this latest growth, the landscape has looked much the same. The US has been the clear leader in overall spend with a leading number of interview users, searchers, amount of consumer power, and overall paying eyeballs. But, this landscape is all about to change with the progression of emergent economies and internet markets. China will surpass the UK by 2014 and become the second-largest market for online ad spend globally after the US. China hit $11.78 billion by 2014 and the UK will be slightly lower at $11.25 billion.
As cited from Internet Retailer, those facilitating the research from eMarketer indicate that the main reason for this growth in China is simply the growing middle class there with increasing resources to spend on products and services. This is no small point when you consider the number of online users in China is roughly 500 million, as compared to the 314 million in the US.
Looking around to other regions and additional emerging markets, Brazil’s continuous rise will top the Latin American region. Next year, Brazil is expected to have $2.45 billion in spending and $4.43 across the region, which will then explode to $4.13 and $7.68, respectively, by 2016. We have touched on the Latin American market several times on this blog (with a mobile post, and a SEO post) and it remains a very relevant and growing collection of emerging markets.
From Latin America to the Asia-Pacific, this latter region will surpass Western Europe to become 2nd in terms of regional ad spending by 2013. Led by China, the Asia-Pacific will see $33.57 billion in ad spend in 2013 compared to Western Europe at $31.17 billion. At that point, the North American market will see just over $50 billion and the US makes up over $46 billion of that.
The US and North America is still very much in the driver’s seat in terms of total ad spend, but the emerging consumers on developing markets will push ad spend up for the years to come as they continue to develop. This makes for increased opportunity for all-things-web regarding SEO, local search, paid search, social media marketing, and especially mobile, considering the popularity and meteoric rise of smartphones in those countries. Those looking to expand internationally should evaluate these markets and see the level of opportunity, which has the chance to be quite large.
As reported extensively last week when Facebook’s quarterly earnings were made public, they are actively looking for additional ways to increase their revenue from all corners of their business. Our CEO, Ken Wisnefski talked with Bloomberg TV about Facebook, their latest earnings, and the direction of the company going forward. Check out the video here, and the follow-up blog post that discusses some of Ken’s additional ideas. All eyes are on Facebook to determine if they will be able to initiate winning programs and added revenue streams. A primary aspect of this process is finding new, viable ways to advertise on the platform. In this vein a promising offering is Facebook Exchange, their new Real-Time Bidding (RTB) service.
RTB is where both marketers and advertisers have the opportunity to purchase digital ads in real-time. This allows advertisers to buy targeted ads based on real-time data they are receiving about what Facebook users are doing and where they are going elsewhere on the web. Armed with this information, advertisers can target users specifically based on actions they have been making and those that they are likely to make in the future. By knowing where they have been and what they were doing, for example looking at or searching for certain types of products, it can be ascertained what they are interested in buying right now.
And that is the difference. The real-time element changes the game; as the immediacy of these online actions forces advertisers to act fast in order to capitalize on a closing purchase window. This process can prove lucrative for both Facebook and the advertisers themselves as they traditionally see greater return on investment with such ads. Full details regarding Facebook Exchange are not fully available, but there is buzz and it is mounting. When it arrives in its full capacity, it could mature Facebook’s advertising suite, providing greater confidence of its overall viability as a company.
And the next frontier…could very well be video. According to Forrester, digital video advertising will likely hit $5.4 billion by 2016, representing an increase of 250% over the video spend in 2011, and is 5% of the amount spent on TV. It appears Facebook Exchange will deal with image-based ads to start, but capitalizing on the power and emergence of video, could be the next move.
Reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen(at)webimax.com for more detail on this subject.
Google continues to roll out new offerings with their primary product: search. Moving into the mobile market, the social space, and other areas, Google has constantly been trying their hand at new functions, growing their reach and relevance, and for their sake, an ever-increasing user-base that enjoys what they offer.
Even in the midst of a projected push from Google for mobile development by industry analysts, search remains their focus, and obviously their primary driver of revenue (ppc) and web dominance. Many of these offerings have varying direct impacts on SEO and paid search, but many influence the overall experience with Google, which does ultimately impact how people use the search engine to find what they need. With this context, we look at their latest offering impacting their search functionality – handwritten search queries.
How Relevant are Handwritten Queries?
Yes, they brought us voice and image searching, and now they are delivering a convenient handwritten search query capability for mobile devices. On smartphones and tablets, users can spell out the desired words via their own fingertips right onto the screen, and Google’s handwriting decryption technology translates it to text in the query box.
It remains to be seen how much more convenient than typing searches this features ends up being, and if it will become a preference of mobile users. Some feel this is simply a gimmick, and opinions will vary, however, there is worth to the function. Users on the go may find it easier to handwrite the desired search term or at least a few letters rather than bringing up the keyboard and typing.
In essence, the feature highlights the importance of Google Instant which will be prominently used with the handwriting feature. As seen in Google’s promotional video for the feature, often users will not type the entire word or phrase, but only handwrite a few letters and then rely on the Google Instant results to connect them to the right query. This is a connecting step, but not a large one.
Due to its sole use on mobile, local SEO for businesses serving specific markets is most directly impacted. Local businesses must be sure to optimize for the most relevant keyword that people would be likely to “handwrite” and optimize that term for their specific location. People will most likely only be writing one or two words, so when people search this one term, for example, from their handwritten search, businesses want to make sure they are represented in the SERPs in their localized market as the search engine will return the most relevant results for that term in that specific area where the search was done, unless another area was specified.
With reliance on Google Instant that this feature brings, businesses and their marketers need to be aware of what the Google Instant results are for words related to your business or keywords, and evaluate the worth of optimizing for them. Do so only if they directly relate to information on your site and the main products and services you offer, otherwise building out such content would be pointless for you (non-conversion traffic) and misleading for the user.
Otherwise, this will be fun to track how much it gets used and what else search-related it impacts. Next up…will this handwritten search functionality start showing up in secondary searches on ecommerce and search-reliant sites.
Reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen(at)webimax.com and @ryanwbudd for thoughts or comments on this or other topics.
Amid the controversy of Facebook’s IPO several months ago, there has been considerable debate on not just the viability of advertising on Facebook, but doing so across social media platforms. The potential was always there, but its sustainability for generating revenue over the long-term has yet to be fully proven.
Now, with new research out from Gartner, social media advertising appears to be proving itself one ad-type and platform at a time. The numbers don’t lie. Last year, social media revenue was 11.8 billion, and the research projects that number to be $16.9 this year, an increase of over 40% – and advertising will make up the biggest share of that revenue, projected at $8.8 billion this year. Second to advertising in relation to share of overall revenue was social gaming, which Gartner expects to reach $6.2 billion this year. But on a day that Facebook announces their second quarter earnings, it is all about the ad revenue.
While standard Facebook ads are still finding their way, their mobile ad offerings, which they added in the second quarter are doing exceptionally well. They are doing so well in fact that they are outperforming their counterparts on the standard platform to an almost troubling degree. Sponsored stories are the only mobile ads offered as of yet and they are actions, including posts, from both brands and everyday users/consumers that the brands promote.
Now the “troublingly” successful figures…the CPM for every thousand sponsored story ads is $9.86 which is approximately 13 times that experienced by the standard format ads, this according to TBG Advertising and reported by Internet Retailer. Further, the mobile ads that were in news feeds had double the click-through rates of ads in the news feed on the standard platform – 1.14% compared to .59%.
Companies have found how to generate revenue from mobile, and advertising is the largest piece of the pie. With the biggest industry player, Facebook, increases in various CPM and click-through rates show that the ads are indeed working for many brands, which is a positive sign, but not a dead-set indicator on their long-term advertising viability or market value. The industry changes just too quickly and they need more success under their belt for such assertions.
But what it does tell us is that Facebook is working on the fix that so many were calling for during their IPO, an improved advertising structure. They are off to a positive start in that regard, but they must build and retain their ability to adapt and evolve their advertising offerings as the nature of their user behavior changes. More ecommerce and social networking is expected on mobile in the coming years, so the mobile platform may be where they make their most money at least that is what the early indicators are pointing to.
Lastly, companies that are not advertising via social, and could benefit, should re-evaluate and look to enter the market. Doing so requires selecting the appropriate platform that matches your target audience and desired ad-type.
Also, be sure to check our CEO, Ken Wisnefski, for his interview with Bloomberg TV at 2:10 PM today discussing the latest on Facebook and their earnings outlook.
For more information on social media and how best to enter this market in terms of advertising potential, reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen(at)webimax.com and @ryanwbudd.
Marissa Mayer has been a larger player at Google through her 13 years there. She was the 20th employee and has held different positions on her way to the top, from designer and engineer to product manager and VP of various projects. She has a focus on end-user design for various products and platforms, and that is being touted as her best strength and leading benefit for Yahoo in bringing her in to lead the company. There is growing sentiment that Mayer might just be the right person to not only navigate a struggling Yahoo but bring the right vision and guidance that could position Yahoo well within the changing landscape of the web, social, and mobile sectors.
Yahoo has had their fair share of struggles in recent years, trying everything they can to right the ship. They have continuously fallen from their once dominant position in search now trailing behind Google and Bing, holding the third place spot and continuously losing market share. They are looking to settle their troubles and reverse their downturn, with intentions to not just level out but become a major player once again.
Enter Marissa Mayer. Given her accomplished background in designing user products that have been visionary in their functionality and widely successful as measured by their high adoption by end-users, she has the right experience for Yahoo’s current position. Several examples of these products are Google Local, Google Images, and Google Maps, some of their most important functions. And this is where it gets interesting.
The Window of Opportunity
Experts and analysts are looking to the future and declaring that Google will likely move away from the traditional web to compete on the mobile, social, and applications fronts. Yahoo’s current areas of strengths exist in the traditional web space with MyYahoo, YahooSports, and YahooFinance as primary properties that receive a big draw and are very active.
So as Google shifts its focus away from the traditional web, there is an opportunity for Yahoo to assert themselves in this space and claim dominance growing web functions and properties. Now, with the person who spearheaded such efforts at Google leading the charge at Yahoo, they could be poised to make a run at defining the traditional web for the next decade.
So where does this leave SEO and the companies that work to optimize on the search engines? It does not change too much of what we do, unless Yahoo makes significant changes to their search offering. This is not entirely out of the question though as Bing already delivers Yahoo’s search results, borrowing their algorithm, so the results are largely similar, but the experience is different.
Yahoo could further develop the experience they deliver on their search platform in an effort to gain greater market share. Reputable SEO agencies will always have work to do but what is looks like will surely evolve and continue to change, and it will be interesting to see how much change if any comes at the hands of new developments from Yahoo.
Reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen(at)webimax.com and @ryanwbudd for more information on how companies can prepare for the future of SEO.
Customer satisfaction has always been important regardless of product or service type, and even industry. We all instinctively know this, experience it as consumers ourselves, and try to deliver it for our own customers if applicable in your line of work. Now, it is a unique exercise in addressing customer satisfaction for social networking platforms because they are still very fresh and evolving in relation to what their purpose is and how consumers actually used them.
Facebook has been in the lead for some time now, with Twitter following them (pun…intended), and LinkedIn, then Google+ and others. Since its inception and the launch of Google Plus Your World, Google+ membership has risen, but activity on the site has paled in comparison to other sites notably Facebook and Twitter. That is an issue that Google will be working to improve on, but now Google+ has a reason to stand apart from their competitors…for their customer service.
In the recently released American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Business Report, Google+ tied for the top spot with Wikipedia in the social media category each with scores of 78 on a 100-point scale. Comparatively, Facebook had a score of 61 which is a decline from 66 last year largely over the changes to their interface that were instituted, ongoing privacy concerns, and the presence of too many ads on the platform.
Opportunities for Google+
Facebook’s downtrend, albeit small, can continue if the above mentioned challenges persist. This would be a positive for Google+ as they progress in this sector. With over 250 million users, Google+ has a long way to go to challenge and match both Facebook user activity and user-base of 900 million. If they can build it up in the coming years, they will be able to bolster their stores of personal information, add additional revenue streams, and increase the relevancy of their social-infused search Google Search Plus Your World.
Attention to the customer is a growing area of concentration for businesses across industries and top social media and SEO companies work with their clients to engage customers and ensure their satisfaction and protect their online reputation. Give a read to Patty Ryan’s post yesterday on a real-life experience with proactive online reputation management, for some additional insight.
Reach out to us directly through our contact page for more information regarding social media, online customer service, and ensuring customer satisfaction.