Google Instant’s Impact on SEM

I recently read an excellent post on the impact Google Instant is having on SEM (search engine marketing) from my friends at Response Mine out of Atlanta. They do an excellent job laying out how Google Instant (referred to as “GI” going forward) potentially changes the way that search marketers approach paid search advertising on Google. I tend to disagree with folks opposed to GI, but I’ll get into that later in this post. In short it appears as though GI has impacted two main factors in SEM:

  1. Ad Positions – There are some noted instances of sponsored links in the 3rd or 4th position that appears above the 1 and 2 spots. This could potentially increase the CTR (click through rate) of those ads and decrease the CTR of sponsored links in the 1st and 2nd positions.
  2. Long tail Competition – Since GI can stop a someone from typing mid query it has the ability to increase the importance of shorter (usually more popular and therefore expensive) keywords.

    Here’s an example of an ad in 4th position appearing over the 1-3 positions. Also, note that if I continued typing “furniture stores nyc” (a long tail keyword) I would be interrupted a few more times. This could potentially limit the impact of buying the keyword “furniture stores nyc.”

    The post goes on to talk about GI’s impact on SEO (search engine optimization), but I’m just going to stick with the impact on SEM right now.

    After reading the post, it’s seems likely that most people would ask “is GI part of an evil Google plan to raise first page bids and increase their revenues?”

    The post goes on to talk about GI’s impact on SEO (search engine optimization), but I’m just going to stick with the impact on SEM right now.

    After reading the post, it’s seems likely that most people would ask “is GI part of an evil Google plan to raise first page bids and increase their revenues?”

    My answer to this questions is “NO!”

    At the end of the day, Google is trying to get their users to the information they want, faster. As the path to the information is optimized (and I assume that means shortened), the amount of advertising real estate will diminish. Thus, the remaining real estate will naturally be worth more. Higher bids is a natural product of the paid search bidding model. It’s also in line with the notion that it’s more valuable to intercept your target the further they are down the decision making funnel.

    So, is Google Instant really evil? No! It’s brilliant!

    Thoughts?

    About Drew Fortin:
    Drew is responsible for strategy and execution of marketing initiatives for Compete.com, including affiliate, blog, email, lead generation, paid search, and social media. Before Compete, Drew worked for office supply giant, Staples, Inc. where he had the opportunity to manage multiple online marketing channels for Staples.com, including affiliate, SEO/SEM, and comparison shopping engines. Follow Drew on Twitter or link him on LinkedIn.

    Categories: Agency & Publisher Solutions | Search

    Tags: | | | |

    Bookmark the permalink.

    Comments

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    1. Brittany

      I don’t think this was addressed directly in this article, but I’m just concerned that GI will bias the user’s search behavior. Let’s say that the user has a specific term/phrase in mind that is legitimate to their search, and GI brings up something else they otherwise would not have typed/searched. Please tell me how marketers may combat this in analyzation of user behavior.

      Reply

      • Drew Fortin

        Hi Brittany – Not sure if I entirely understand your questions. It appears as though you are referring to semantic search queries, correct? I feel as though this is something Google has always done well with, at least better than other engines. Standard SEO practices to rank for those particular keywords will certainly make an impact. A lot of it is up to the engines to determine the intent of the query and therefore what listing to put in the SERP. Anyone else have thoughts?

        Reply

    2. Rob Perkins

      Sometimes Google make strange thinks with the ratings, it needs more transparency….

      Reply

    3. Mark

      I think Brittany brings up a good question. I think she means, what if someone was searching on “Furniture” in preparation for buying a new coffee table. However, one of the GI results was “Furniture Repair.”

      She clicks on that search term thinking maybe I will repair versus buy. You could reason that GI changed, or biased, the intent of the search by presenting some alternative ideas somewhat inadvertently.

      Now that is an entirely different challenge for marketers to take into account.

      Reply