Huge changes on the Google SERP as colored background for ads replaced with an "ad" icon.—
Jonathan Mendez (@jonathanmendez) December 05, 2013
A select few Google users may notice a something new: a large banner-like advertisement at the top of the search results page.
Google put a search bar in the new tab page of their Chrome browser. I guess it’s time to expect more volatility in GOOG shares. When you’re at Google scale, changes like this have huge revenue consequences (see Bill Gurley’s excellent post on how small moves in conversion rate have enormous leverage on company profit). Google seems to do this methodically and really understands the revenue impact of these small moves so I wouldn’t be surprised if they are backing into a number they need to hit for the quarter.
Blast to the past– search distribution companies unite:
The combination creates a search distribution company generating $367 million in revenue and $109 million in EBITDA for the 12 months ended June 30, 2013. The newly combined Perion operation represents more than 260,000 publisher and content partners.
Google takes away more transparency:
Keyword Planner has approximately 50-60% of the features the old Keyword Tool had. Here are some features that have been removed:
no information about local search volume
no information about search volume per device
no match type (broad, exact, etc.)
no search share value
Why? because “in general, about half the time people didn’t recognize when ads were present on search results pages.”
Probably good to read the entire article if you work with paid search.
If you still want the tldr version, here are the section headers from the article:
- Better Background Shading And/Or Borders For Ads
- Text Labels Above Or To Left Of Ads
- Siri, Is That An Ad? Voice Disclosure Required
- Facebook Graph Search, This Means You, Too
- The Limbo Of Paid Inclusion Disclosure
via FTC Updates Search Engine Ad Disclosure Guildelines After “Decline In Compliance”.
Under terms of the search partnership, Microsoft guaranteed for 18 months the revenue per search for ads that appear on Yahoo sites. In 2011, the companies extended the guarantee through March 2013.
On February 1, Google implemented new rules for application and toolbar distribution through its third-party ad products (Adwords and Adsense). The most onerous of these new “rules” requires that homepage conversions be “opt in” versus “opt out” previously […] Based on our channels checks, toolbar/application companies have shifted 50%-90% of their traffic to other search providers, with Yahoo being the biggest beneficiary. For the sake of our Google model, we are lowering our estimates to reflect the low end or a 50% reduction from non-exclusive partners. This equates to $1.3 billion, or 3% of total core net revenue.
Time to short IACI?
In March 2012, eBay conducted a controlled trial to see what would happen if they shut off this “branded keyword advertising” by halting their purchases of search ads containing the word “ebay” on Microsoft and Yahoo search engines, while continuing to purchase search ads on Google as a control. There was no change in eBay sales via Yahoo and Bing, relative to those that came through Google — consumers simply substituted clicks on the unpaid search listing for the now-absent paid ones.
It appears as though Microsoft has landed a nice win for its search engine, Bing.