In a bid for more digital ad dollars, Yahoo has started testing full-width, autoplaying video ads to its search pages. When users search for certain keywords that brands have bought Yahoo’s search ads for, Yahoo will place the brand’s video ads atop the search results. Fashion retailer Lands’ End is an early tester, and their video stretches the entire width of the webpage and plays automatically on mute. The test is limited to desktop only for now, and it remains unclear if or when Yahoo plans to officially roll out the ad product.
What Brands Need To Do
This is not the first time a search engine attempted to make a play at brands’ video ad dollars. In August, Google was also reported to be testing video ads on its search results pages. Video ads are popular among brand advertisers, and Yahoo’s new experiment may lead to an effective new ad experience that combines the expressiveness of video ads with the targeting capability of search ads. Brands, especially those with strong branded video content, should keep a close eye on this new ad unit’s development.
Earlier today, Google started rolling out the app-streaming options in its Android app, which allows Android users to stream certain apps over the web without downloading them first. The streamed apps will be running on virtual machines on Agawi’s cloud platform, which Google acquired in June, and respond to taps and touches similarly to how native apps do. This feature is currently only enabled for nine launch app partners, which include Hotel Tonight, Weather, and New York Subway. Moreover, Google is no longer requiring that apps have matching web content in order to be indexed through its search engine, which makes app-only content searchable.
What Brands Need To Do
As consumer attention on mobile devices continues to be dominated by apps, app discovery has become a real issue for brands. Making branded apps streamable via Google Search can help brands give consumers a preview of what their apps have to offer, which may lead to app downloads. If your brand has yet to index your app content to make it discoverable via Google Search, now is a good time to start.
Header image courtesy of Google’s Inside Search Blog
Earlier today, Yahoo announced it has reached a non-exclusive deal with Google to display the latter’s search results and ads in its own services, both on mobile and desktop devices. Yahoo has a similar arrangement with Microsoft’s Bing in place, but it states that the new Google partnership will only be supplementary to its existing deal with Bing. Yahoo will have near total control over when or where to pull in Google’s search results or ads, but it remains unclear whether advertisers would have the option to opt out of having their Google search ads shown on Yahoo sites.
According to a comScore report released in August, Google dominated the U.S. desktop search market with nearly 64% market share, whereas Yahoo’s search network trailed far behind with only 12.7% market share. Therefore, it makes sense for Yahoo to team up with the biggest search engine on the planet in order to leverage some of Google’s search technologies and ad products to better manage search queries and serve ads. For Google, this deal helps to further expand the reach of its search ads, which in turn increases its revenue. Overall, the search market now faces the challenge of losing search to apps on mobile devices, and we expect to see more consolidating partnerships like this as search giants continue to battle with this issue.
Source: Business Insider
Google has added more curated recommendations to the “Explore” tab of Google Maps mobile app, continuing its efforts to beef up its hyperlocal search offerings. Available now in NYC, San Francisco, and London, the update focuses primarily on restaurant recommendations, adding various filters that aim to help users quickly find nearby places to eat or drink. Back in July, the search giant also added direct hotel booking to its service.
What Brands Should Do
According to recent reports, search queries with local intent is taking up nearly half of all U.S. search volume, and half of them lead to store visit, something that local businesses and stores should capitalize on. This update brings Google Map into direct competition with others in the local discovery market such as Yelp and Foursquare. While the majority of the curations are created based on the algorithm, Google notes that, in specific neighborhoods, editorial insights will also be included to “highlight the local flavor.” This certainly leaves the door open for brands and local businesses to get on the front pages of Explore.
Back in April, Google started prioritizing mobile-friendly websites in its mobile search results with a tweaked algorithm, which means sites without a mobile version got demoted in search ranking. Now, Google is gunning for sites with disruptive app-install interstitial ads, announcing its plan to start demoting those site in mobile search results starting November 1. It’s a curious choice on Google’s part to target only the app-install ads, presumably due to the fact that Google would prefer users to stay within mobile web, where it gets most of its ad revenue from and has more control over, instead of dispatching into various apps.
What Brands Should Do
Regardless of Google’s agenda, the fact stands that disruptive full-page pop-up or interstitial ads are annoying and detrimental to the user experience, especially so on the limited screen space of mobile devices. Therefore, brands need to make sure the app-install ads they serve are up to Google’s standard, so as not to be penalized in mobile search results. In the long run however, as mobile web continues to decline and users spending more and more time in apps, brands and digital publishers may need to consider alternative content distribution channels, such as Facebook’s Instant Articles or Snapchat Discover, or even developing their own apps in order to reach and engage with consumers on mobile.
A recent report from web traffic analytics firm Parse.ly says its data shows Facebook now accounts for more of the traffic to news sites than Google. Traditionally, organic search dominated as the top traffic referrer online, but social media has been quickly catching up in recent years and has now seemingly overtaken search as the leading traffic referrer source for good. As of July 2015. social media, of which Facebook is the largest, accounted for 43% of the traffic to news sites tracked by Parse.ly, whereas Google Search only accounted for just 38%.
What Brands Can Do
As consumers increasingly switch from desktop access to mobile devices, time spent in apps is starting to eclipse time spent on the mobile web, which could explain why more people are getting their news and content from social media instead of web search. This means brands need to make a conscious effort in translating their web content onto social media platforms, if they wish to keep up with the changing user behaviors.
One bonus effect of this shift is that content that does well on social media can get exponentially more attention than something that does well in search. Studies have shown that consumers are more likely to buy a product if it is recommended by someone they know.
Read original story on: The Next Web
Yesterday, Yahoo announced a new partnership with Oracle that aims to prompt users updating Java software to set Yahoo as the default search engine. And Today, Yahoo follows up its efforts in pushing Yahoo Search with a revamp mobile search results page that offers richer content and quicker access to take actions. For example, a search for a specific restaurant now pulls up relevant info about the restaurant, as well as yelp reviews, all designed to be directly helpful in the context of specific queries. Of course, this is nothing really revolutionary—Google has been doing that for years now—but it is a smart move for Yahoo to catch up and put mobile search first, especially now that mobile search usage has officially surpassed desktop.
Read original story on: Search Engine Land
In its biggest expansion since 2012, Google trends rolled out a number of new updates today, including “minute-by-minute, real-time” data, which pulls data from YouTube and Google News to determine trending topics. In addition, Google has also launched a new “story-centric” homepage that helps to group the topics currently ranking.
While nothing particularly revolutionary, this could be helpful to brands that want to catch the trend and join the conversation on social media, potentially replacing the other social listening tools. For those wanting to do a deeper analysis of trends data to get to the bottom of virality, Google is also publishing data-sets for specific topics on its Github page.
Last week, we reported on Facebook’s Instant Articles, the newest product in its relentless chase after digital publishers. Now officially launched, it serves as a mobile-only content initiative, designed to get partnered publishers to get their content hosted natively on Facebook’s servers so as to eliminate the long wait for in-app browser to open. Among the first batch of publishers signed on are prestigious news outlets such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, BBC News and BuzzFeed, all seemingly eager to try out the glossy, mobile-friendly new format and speed this new feature brings.
In related news, Facebook started to test its own in-app, in-house search engine earlier last week. Selected users have discovered a new feature that allows them to easily search and add links that are already shared on Facebook, directly to their posts and comments. Although not necessarily trying to take over Google’s business, this new development, combined with the launch of Instant Articles, all point to Facebook’s ambitious plan to turn its social network platform into a closed-off mobile ecosystem for digital content. In fact, Facebook is on track to pass Google in incremental ad dollars, according to a Morgan Stanley analyst.
If such trend continues, we might soon be seeing a version of The Internet, as presented by Facebook. Therefore, it is important for media owners and brands alike to at least to try out Facebook’s offerings first to see if its platform works for their specific purposes.
Update 5/15/2014: Smaller publications, including local news sources, will reportedly have an opportunity to try Instant Articles for themselves soon.
Read original story on: New York Times
Once again putting the vast amount of data it gathers to good use, Google has announced a plan to issue fashion trend reports biannually based on web searches. This move underscores the company’s bid for greater influence in the fashion ecommerce space. Such insights, for example, have allowed Google to begin consulting for major retailers including Calvin Klein, which use Google search data in fashion planning.