Back in January, we sat down and put down some thoughts about how search engine advertising would evolve through 2007, not least so we could entertain ourselves in the run up to Christmas by seeing how wrong we were.
Here’s the first five predictions which we categorised as “ones we would almost put money on” (luckily we didn’t!).
Prediction 1 – “Mobile Search – Lots of nice case studies of small but profitable mobile search campaigns will spring up as the UK gets more sophisticated in its use of the internet on mobile devices.”
Verdict – Mostly Wrong
A quick search for google adwords mobile search case studies does not reveal a single case study in the top 10 so we are hardly awash with them. We havent put any together oursleves for the simple reason that the search volume has been so small to not be worth shouting about.
So we were right about the small, but so small that the profit has hardly been detectable. It has to come though.
Prediction 2 – “Yahoo! Search Marketing bid prices on less frequently searched phrases will increase despite a speculated drop in the minimum bid from 10p to 5p. This will occur as Yahoo!’s new search marketing platform (aka Panama) kicks-in in mid 2007. The new platform will make it easier for lazy advertisers to bid on these phrases.”
Verdict – Correct
Panama arrived in the UK in the summer. The move to a system that broadly mirrors the way Google works, has allowed Yahoo! to better monitise the so called “long tail” search phrases. Luckily there is still plenty of opportunity for properly managed campaigns to out perform these lazier advertisers.
Prediction 3 – “Microsoft AdCenter will gain some market share but Googles dominance will continue unabated, at least for the time being.”
Verdict – Mostly Correct
It’s still all Google with no sign of a change. AdCenter has increased its revenues but sadly the search market share (as oppossed to the marketing dollars share) is showing no signs of increasing.
Prediction 4 – “Google AdWords will respond to Yahoo!’s move to provide an indication of quality score and Microsoft’s demographic targeting (e.g. allowing targeting by age and sex).”
Verdict – Partially Correct
AdWords does now give an indication of quality score (complete with Google-esk murky expalantions of what your score means). There is only chat about demographic targeting though. It seems that “personalisation” is the direction Google is moving towards rather than demographic targeting as we know it.
Prediction 5 – “One of the major search engines will have a major ranking update which will leave a lot of commercial websites complaining that results are less relevant. In reality, the search engines aim will be to increasingly make the sponsored results the place for consumers to look if they want to buy something and the natural listings the place to go if you are looking for information.”
Verdict – Correct
There has been so many of them but the one that stands out is Google’s much debated crusade to stamp out link buying for the purpose of gaining rank.