There’s always plenty happening in the fast-moving world of online search and advertising. Here’s a summary of key things that caught our eye last week…
Google has released data which shows that over the last 13 years the number of “how to” search queries has grown. People looking for help using ‘how to fix’ things type searches are especially popular. For example, “how to fix a toilet” is the most popular how to fix search in North America, whereas New Zealanders are more inclined to search for “how to fix a washing machine”.
Google has created an entertaining website illustrating all these searches and it’s worth checking out. The URL is not what you might expect for a Google property, being http://how-to-fix-a-toilet.com/
This growth in “how to” searches probably reflects the increasing dependence people have on Google as a go-to source of information and provides an opportunity for website owners to target this traffic.
In a win-win for both companies, marketing automation platform Marketo has announced a six-year partnership with Google.
SaaS company Marketo has struggled to scale, and migrating to the Google Cloud platform promises to resolve the company’s performance and technical issues. Perhaps as alluring for Marketo customers will be close integration with Google’s G-Suite (including Gmail and Sheets) and GoogleBigQuery.
Google wins out over Amazon, IBM and Microsoft, with terms of the alliance including joint marketing and an increase in internal company use of Marketo. It may not stop there though: some analysts predict Google might eventually purchase Marketo. But the price tag would be a steep one: Vista Equity Partners paid $US1.79b to take the company private last year.
Google has announced the rollout of the “Landing Pages” mobile assessment tool previewed earlier this year.
Landing Pages will identify site URLs that drive the most clicks/engagement. The tool also reports the Mobile-Friendly Click Rate (MFCR), which is the percentage of mobile clicks coming from smartphones that land on a mobile-friendly page.
Google has re-launched a beta test that automatically launches machine-generated ads in a small set of AdWords accounts. After getting some negative feedback about the first beta test this rollout includes a couple of process improvements:
1: More notification: Participating advertisers will receive notifications in the interface and via email whenever an ad variation is created in an account.
2: Review period: There will be a 14-day period in which advertisers can review ad suggestions before they go live. During that review period, the advertiser can choose to edit, pause, dismiss or approve it. It’s also possible to opt out of the test altogether at any time.
If you do a search in Google for Hurricane Irma which is currently devastating the Caribbean you’ll see that the resultant page (https://goo.gl/jcy1TP) features a Google SOS Alert.
Google launched SOS Alerts in July to provide users with better information when a natural disaster or other crisis hits their area. These SOS Alerts prominently feature at the top of Google search results and in Maps when a user looks for information about an incident or an affected area.
Included prominently on the Hurricane Irma SOS page is a Donate box. Google rolled the donate feature out last week in response to the Hurricane Harvey disaster which devastated Houston and other parts of Texas.
Google states it provides this donation service to help you direct your funds for effective local impact.
Google has chosen the Center for Disaster Philanthropy as its public donation partner and all funds donated using the Donate button on the SOS page get directed to Center for Disaster Philanthropy to manage and distribute to organisations it deems best placed to help.
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy is a little-known Washington DC advisory group and hardly a household name, even in the aid world.
Google’s choice to use this group has come in for some criticism. Professional aid workers and fundraisers fear it lacks the proven capacity to manage and distribute the funds. In an inauspicious start, the charity’s website crashed the first day it started taking donations for Hurricane Harvey.
Google’s decision to feature their own donate box on SOS pages seems to be at the expense of well-known charities like Oxfam, Red Cross and Save The Children which people may prefer to donate to. At this point, Google is not showing any fund appeal advertisements for such charities.
If you do want to donate to Oxfam you can do so at this page https://www.oxfam.org.nz/donate/appeal/194182
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These search marketing news updates feature articles of interest picked up through the week by the SureFire team.