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Subcategories from this category: Search Syndication, IPO | M & A Report, Mobile, Big 3 Search Engines

Facebook Ads Are NOT Taking Spend Away From Search--Only Display

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Super User
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on Monday, 03 October 2011
in Industry Report

In May, TechCrunch reported that Facebook accounts for 33% of all ad impressions displayed in the United States. No single web property even comes close—Yahoo was second, with only a 10% stake in the display game. Facebook served more than 340 billion ad impressions in the first quarter alone. And considering the social network's total revenue for the first half of 2011 was estimated at $1.6 Billion, advertising sales make up a massive 89% of its cash intake.

Last week, Citi released the findings from its third quarter search marketing trends call, a conversation of panelists discussing everything from Google's dominant market share (80 - 81% of total spend) to the current landscape of search advertising at large. While the Citi analysts are not seeing such a high demand for search targeting in the social sector, there is a clear interest in how search marketing will play out on Facebook.

The Citi panelists noted that the amount marketers spend on Facebook is only 5% of what they spend on search ads. And though they forecast this number to increase in the future, the key takeaway is that while Facebook’s (and Google’s) ad-spend currently eats up massive shares from traditional ad buckets—including banner, branding, and display from the previous kings of the game, Yahoo and AOL—search dollars are fairly stable and consistently growing.

My Take: The fact that Facebook is not chipping away at the massive search market is a clear indication of how strong our industry is. Search is a complicated game, reserved for the few players who can maintain incredible relationships with the best publishers and advertisers while harnessing sophisticated technology to achieve the best performance goals

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Web Publishers: You Didn’t Know Google Was a Content Creator?

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on Wednesday, 14 September 2011
in Industry Report

Google's $125 Million acquisition of Zagat last week is the most recent example that Google views itself as a content provider. Zagat is a creator of reviews and ratings for restaurants primarily. Originally a printed guide, Zagat recently reinvented its business model with a major move into web and mobile – placing them in prime competition with Yelp and Foursquare.

According to Google official blog, Marissa Mayer, Google's VP of Local Maps and Location Services, wrote, "Moving forward, Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering — delighting people with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world."

This is the latest move (Blogger, YouTube, Google TV) in Google's march to become a content creation company.

So what does all this mean? Its bad news for Yelp and other media companies in the review space. Just like Google's acquisition of ITA, was bad news for travel sites, when Google acquires a leader in a content vertical and points its firehose of search traffic to that site, its game over for the other publishers. This is a smart business move for Google – why just get paid for the click – why not also capture the revenue that is generated from these clicks?

My take: Google is not just a search engine. Do publishers really want to outsource their monetization to a competing media company? And if Google hasn't entered your industry yet, how long until they start offering competing content? Remember, their mission is to "Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." So that doesn't leave out much.

But maybe the best take comes from Marissa Meyer, who said four years ago (when Google was still just a search company): "To the degree that we host content, we ultimately have a monetary incentive to drive people to those pages if those pages have ads on it." Marissa Mayer, Google VP (June 23, 2007)

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The Death of Yahoo? Board Cans CEO and Hires Bankers

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on Wednesday, 07 September 2011
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Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz was fired on Tuesday, as the deep internal problems at Yahoo spilled out into public view.


Bartz’s firing was not surprising – it is a well-known fact in the industry that Yahoo is mismanaged.

This was most obvious in Search, where Bartz gave up Yahoo’s most valuable asset (Search market share) because it couldn’t stomach a fight with Google. Instead, she entered into an ill-conceived Alliance with Microsoft.

To determine the fate of that Alliance, it helps to understand what a mess Yahoo is right now.

 

The incompetence at Yahoo goes to the Board-level, as shown by the way they handled Bartz’s termination.

 

The timing and method were amateurish. Bartz emailed the company on Tuesday to say she had been fired via phone. A well-executed succession would have been handled quietly and professionally last week, while everyone was on vacation.


 

Instead, all of the stories today are about how Yahoo is hiring bankers to carve it up into pieces and sell it off. This is one step removed from holding an auction on the courthouse steps.


So what does this mean for the Search Alliance with Microsoft?


The Microsoft-Yahoo Alliance will end. Either Yahoo will sell Search to Microsoft, or someone else will step in and break the Alliance. Either way, this quasi-Joint Venture he-said-she-said BS will end. In the long run, this is good for the Search industry.


In the short term though, the Alliance is stuck in purgatory.


If you are an advertiser or publisher, how can you justify investing time and effort into a platform that may not be around in three months?


If you are a Yahoo employee, are you worried about managing publisher relationships – or are you working on your resume and meeting with recruiters?


Resolution will not come until 2012 at the earliest. And in the meantime, there are publishers and advertisers that need to build their Pay Per Click businesses in Q4 2011. And there are Yahoo employees who need to think about their families.

My Take: If you want to get out of purgatory, consider joining the leading platform exclusively dedicated to search syndication. Look us up when you are in town next week for the Yahoo Partner Summit (we’re guessing that Bartz won’t be speaking at 9:40 on Tuesday).



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Groupon's IPO in Trouble?

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on Thursday, 11 August 2011
in Industry Report

 

Groupon, the fastest-growing company in history, raised concerns when it filed initial IPO papers with the SEC in June. Much of this concern was based upon the lack of transparency of their accounting practices. The June filing reported an operating income of $60 million in 2010 and a staggering $81 million in just Q1 of 2011.

This week, Groupon amended their filing papers to the SEC to include $345 million in marketing expenses. Now it reports operating losses totaling $420 million for 2010 and $117 million for the first quarter of 2011.

According to a ComputerWorld report today, analysts from PrivCo, a financial research company focused on privately held companies, said the change in Groupon's numbers, along with increased competition in the daily deals market, could put the company's IPO in "serious jeopardy." The report also noted that it's likely the company will delay or withdraw its move to go public.

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with Yankee Group, said Groupon is in a tough spot but he doubts that the revised filing will derail the company's IPO.

"There's no doubt it will impact their initial valuation," he said. "I doubt it was a tactic, more of an error. It can give the perception they were hiding something, which causes investors to lose confidence."

My Take: The Groupon Bubble is bursting. Aside from bleeding cash, most businesses who use Groupon are not satisfied with the results. The last thing a business wants, in my opinion, is a customer that will only buy your product/service at a significantly reduced price.

Attention Groupon: Next time time someone offers you $6 BILLION, take the money and run to the bank ASAP!

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When Will Mobile Advertising Scale?

Posted by
Super User
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on Tuesday, 02 August 2011
in Industry Report

Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of Toda Cell, Mojiva, inMobi and Celtra—they are among a plethora of mobile startups who, along with giants such as Apple and Google, are spending millions in an attempt to make mobile advertising a big business. While television advertising is a $60 billion industry, mobile is generating only $1 billion per year. Many are betting that in just a few years, mobile will overtake TV.

Despite the excitement and investment around mobile advertising, the industry still lacks the essential tools it needs to attract ad spend. According to ComScore, 234 million Americans older than thirteen use mobile devices, whether iPhones, tablets, Androids or non-smartphones. But the lack of standard methods for creating and measuring mobile ads across the traffic makes scalability next to impossible.

"There are challenges at scale," Ogilvy Worldwide Chief Digital Offer Brandon Berger told Ad Age this week. "Buying $30 million worth of mobile media is going to be daunting."

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