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Happy New Year. Hopefully you have had a good break and have managed to get your head back down to work without too much effort. This is our first official newsletter. We hope you find it interesting – please let us know what you think and if there are any topics you would like us to cover in the future, we are all ears. This month the focus is mobile search…

The Attacat Team

2007: The Year Mobile Search Engines Take Off?

With all the hype about web 2.0 over the last year or two, the mobile web has been quietly evolving.

This may be because uptake is not being driven by the US, but instead has come initially from Japan, and now increasingly Europe.

It is fair to say though, that the mobile web in the UK still leaves a lot to be desired.

3G coverage is poor and speeds are nothing like as good as was expected when Gordon made 22.5 billion from auctioning off the licenses back in 2000.

Surfing ordinary websites on mobile devices (such as the one I am writing this newsletter on) is an unpleasant experience. Horizontal scrolling, the necessity for image free surfing (to reduce excessive bandwidth charges) and the inability to cope with much of the advanced functionality used on websites all adds up to a lot of grey hair.

Slowly though, the opportunities for advertisers are springing up. Mobile specific sites are on the increase and now all the Search heavy weights are getting involved.

Take, for example, the impressive offering recently launched by Ask (of previous butler fame) which includes a neat map application. Naturally it also includes a stripped down version of their search engine.

However, the development that we are getting child-on-Christmas-Eve type excitement about, is the quiet launch of pay-per-click mobile adverts by Google.

Now included remarkably neatly within Google AdWords, this form of advertising offers all the benefits of conventional AdWords, albeit currently at a matchbox size scale.

The even better news (unless you are on the board of directors at Yellow Pages) is that you don’t need a mobile website (or even a website for that matter) as Google allows you to simply advertise a phone number.

With most mobile surfing devices by definition being part of a phone, this is a much more enticing prospect than advertising a phone number in “traditional web conditions”. The user can initiate a call with no more effort than it takes to click through to a web page.

Yahoo! are not far behind with a similar offering currently being tested in the UK and US. The primary difference between the two approaches is that Yahoo! offer to host a mobile-friendly web page for you, rather than Google’s approach of enticing potential customers to call you directly.

The current state of mobile PPC adverts is, in many ways, very similar to conventional search PPC adverts of the late 1990’s. Search volumes are relatively small but so is the competition.

And that means cheap “clicks” (or calls). In many cases there will be clicks available for as little as a penny. In Google’s case, it is (almost remarkably) no more expensive to generate a call than a click.

So will it take off in 2007?

Mobile search will not be “life changing” for every business and certainly not in 2007, but if your business can benefit from leads calling you, then mobile search is a no brainer. The search volumes, and therefore the opportunities are only going to increase, and in the meantime, it will cost peanuts.

If you are game, we are currently looking for four existing clients, interested in participating in our mobile search test, so if you want to give it a go, please get in touch.

Further Resources:

Attacat News

Highlights from the Attacat Blog

You may have noticed that we have quietly launched a “blog” on our website. Please do pop by and add your thoughts . Here are some past posts that may interest you:

11/01/07 Predictions for Search Engine Advertising in 2007

Our take on what we can expect from Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Attacat. [read post]

31/10/06 The Month in Numbers – October 2006

Some interesting stats released in October. [read post]

18/10/06 YSM Panama Update has Started

Yahoo Search Marketing may have started their update but there is not any great haste. A UK migration is expected in mid 2007. [read post]

3/10/06 Local search is Generating Business and is on the Up

ComScore’s latest statistics on local searching in the US reveals some interesting trends. It is fair to say that the UK is still behind on this but it is not unusual for US patterns to migrate… [read post]

20/9/06 Competitive Advantage

Implications of Jaynie Smith’s approach to competitive advantage on search engine advertising. [read post] ————————————————————————-

This is a “reprint” of the newsletter of Attacat, a search engine advertising agency based in Edinburgh. Attacat specialise in helping clients increase profits from their campaigns on Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and Microsoft AdCenter.

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