Web Search & Marketing Newsletter - May 2010
Welcome to the May issue of our monthly newsletter which looks at some of the latest news and developments in the web search and online marketing field.
This month we look at why Google's new service, "Google Places" is a renamed version of their Local Business Center. This has been done primarily to better connect Place Pages with the tool that enables business owners to manage their presence on Google, but also introduces some new services for companies to advertise their business to a local market.
We also look at the announcement that Twitter is launching a new advertising scheme called 'Promoted Tweets'. Twitter is gradually rolling out this advertising to users and there are 10 initial advertisers taking part. Finally in this issue, we review Google's announcement about their new Remarketing tool and how this allows companies to display tailored ads on sites throughout the Google content network.
You can read more below, or you can also browse through previous editions of the newsletter, either by month or by subject . We are also reporting the main news stories during each month in our regular web marketing blog or you can get the latest updates by following our Twitter account.
On to this month's edition...
Google's Local Business Center becomes "Google Places"
Google has recently announced that their Local Business Center has been renamed as "Google Places", as part of a rebranding process for their maps-based data, and to mark the inclusion of some new features. Every company should be listing their business details on this part of Google's service, particularly if they target a localised area, and the updated Places service will provide new ways to market to customers through search.
Google launched their Place Pages feature last September to provide users with more detailed information through the Google Maps service for more than 50 million places around the world, with locational information such as restaurants and hotels to dry cleaners and bike shops, as well as non-business places like museums, schools and parks. The renamed Google Places now coordinates business listings with this branded service and allows businesses to verify and supplement their business information to include hours of operation, photos, videos, coupons, product offerings and more.
The new features being made available within the Google Places service include:
- Service areas - if a business has to travel to serve customers, then they can now show which geographic areas are served. And if a business doesn't have a storefront or office location (such as a home-based business), they can make their address private but still display a listing.
- New advertising options - for $25 per month, businesses in some cities can make their listings stand out on Google.com and Google Maps with Tags - yellow markers that allow companies to promote important aspects of their businesses, such as coupons, photos, or other select features.
- Business photo shoots - in addition to uploading their own photos, businesses in select cities can now request a free photo shoot of the interior of their business which will be used to supplement existing photos of businesses on Place Pages.
- Customized QR codes: businesses in the US can download a QR code that's unique to their business, directly from their dashboard page. QR codes can be placed on business cards or other marketing materials, and customers can scan them with certain smartphones to be taken directly to the mobile version of the Place Page for that business.
These features are initially being made available to companies in the USA, and in some cases limited to selected cities, but are expected to be rolled out to other countries in the future. Google is also providing more detailed analysis within Google Places that includes data about how many times people have found a business on Google, what keywords they used to find it and even what areas people traveled from to visit the business.
If you'd like to know more about how Google Places could improve your business visibility on local searches, please contact us now.
Twitter announces a new advertising scheme called 'Promoted Tweets'
During April, the popular micro-blogging service Twitter announced a new advertising model that they hope will start earning some significant revenue for the company. Called Promoted Tweets, the ads will appear at the top of results for searches users conduct on Twitter. Eventually, they may appear in the stream of posts users see when they log into the site.
Twitter is gradually rolling out this advertising to users and there are 10 initial advertisers taking part, including Starbucks, Virgin America and Best Buy. The company will start by charging marketers per thousand impressions of their ads. Over time, it plans to move to a more complex model, charging based on how users interact with the messages.
Advertisers and users have been waiting for some time for Twitter to settle on a formula for ads. While the company has tens of millions of users and has raised hoards of venture capital, most recently at a $1 billion valuation, it has only recently begun to earn revenue from providing its 'Tweets' to larger Internet companies like Google and Microsoft.
For now, Twitter's ad-matching and pricing formula is a work in progress, but could soon appeal to the millions of businesses who have created accounts on the service to share deals and other corporate updates. Instead of getting users to follow their messages, they will now be able to push their message to users who search any keyword they buy.
What impact this advertising will have on Twitter's millions of users will have to be seen, however. Twitter's Chief Executive, Evan Williams and co-founder Biz Stone have been publicly lukewarm about advertising, suggesting it could irritate users. They emphasised that they were exploring a range of monetisation models, including enhanced services for businesses. Advertising executives have been sceptical that Twitter could build a formula that would appeal to advertisers more than Google's search ads or other display or banner ads.
If you'd like to know how Promoted Tweets could help the marketing of your business, please contact us for more details.
Google launches its Remarketing tool
Google AdWords recently announced the introduction of 'interest-based advertising' which has now been released from beta testing. Called "remarketing", this is a new feature for AdWords advertisers who are using the content network and enables advertisers to present their sales messages to previous visitors to their website.
Google claims that the testing period with selected advertisers has proved very successful and the concept allows companies to display tailored ads on sites throughout the Google content network to web users that have previously visited the site from an AdWords link. This is similar to behavioural targeting so that previous activity can be used to target new offers through text, display or video adverts.
Google provides an example of how this might work for an advertiser, such as a basketball team with tickets to sell. By putting a piece of code on the tickets page of their website, this will let them later show relevant ticket ads (such as last minute discounts) to everyone who has visited that page, as they subsequently browse sites in the Google Content Network.
Several remarketing campaigns could also be run at the same time. For example, the company could offer discount game tickets to users who've previously visited the tickets page, advertise VIP hospitality packages to users who clicked on a 'How to get to the arena' page, and advertise a sale on team merchandise to users who previously visited a YouTube brand channel.
Google states that remarketing is a great way for businesses to display more relevant and useful ads for users, and more opportunities for customers to receive special offers and discounts that may be of interest to them.
If you'd like more information about how the remarketing option from Google AdWords could improve the marketing of your business, please contact us for more information.
Recent articles from The Marketing Workbench
The Marketing Workbench is our regular web marketing blog covering news and comment on Internet marketing events and trends. If you want to keep track of current stories you can visit this section of our website on a regular basis, or set up an RSS feed. These are just some of the items posted over the past month:
- Facebook's 'Like' button replaces links
- Women 'dominate Facebook'
- Google reveals government data requests
- How effective is mobile advertising?
- Google buys video hosting platform Episodic
We hope you've found this month's issue useful. Please contact us if you need any more information on the items covered, or our advice on any aspect of your website's performance. Also, if there are any issues you would like to see in future editions of this newsletter, please submit your suggestions to us.