2011 Search Predictions

by Guest Writer

Google's Instant Preview With Google's Instant Preview here to stay, leading search marketing specialist and technology firm Greenlight, has 2011 pegged as "web design year". Greenlight predicts Google and Bing will offer app search before the year is out, competition between the two to heats up and duplication filters to get even tougher as the search engines take more drastic measures to limit the amount of resource they spend on less valuable content.

For paid search, Greenlight predicts 2011 will be the year display marketing starts to mirror much of what is search in practice. It expects there to be huge growth in the contextual based pay-per-click (PPC) model - pulling away from the search engine domain to advertisers such as such as eBay or Amazon and the Yahoo! "Rich ads in Search" proposition to take off, prompting Google to counter with a more appealing model.

These are just a few of Greenlight's top 10 predictions in its annual 'Year in Review Briefing', charting what's in store for natural and paid search marketing in 2011. It also looks back at what unfolded in 2010, surprises included, and how its predictions panned out. Among others they included Google factoring in the content of videos into page relevancy scores and the search giant finding more ways to monetise the excess inventory in AdWords, to internet use on mobile phones accelerating and mobile search taking off.

Greenlight's top 10 predictions for paid and natural search in 2011 include:

1. Google and Bing will offer app search before the year is out

Smartphone users likely already feel the pull of their respective app store/marketplace as much as if not more than a traditional search engine like Google, if/when they have a particular need. That, according to Adam Bunn, director of search at Greenlight, is a new frontier for search: the idea that instead of finding a website that will be able to answer your question right now, you'll go and find an app and install that app because it will answer the question, and questions like it, again and again, in a more usable way (in the long term).

quoting To maintain any kind of grasp on the mobile user, search engines will need to be able to point out apps that might be relevant to the searcher's search – and even give them a one-click install option for when the search is being carried out from a mobile with the right operating system. This will manifest as another type of vertical search on Google and Bing, as well as being pulled into the normal results as a universal search element. end quote

2. Display marketing will mirror much of what is search in practice

Google's acquisition of Double Click, Yahoo! Right Media Exchange, and Direct Response crossing over; and MSN bringing its exchange to the forefront, as well as offering similar display programmes and formats to search advertisers – is turning what we all once knew as 'traditional display marketing' to a very search-like feel to display.

The Ad Exchanges specifically have been pivotal to this evolution, providing real-time bidding and optimisation. It is making advertisers and brands rethink their display strategy and investment – and ask the question, does display have a new lease of life? Hannah Kimuyu, Director of paid search at Greenlight says

quoting The best example of this was Google's acquisition of Double Click ... It transformed its Content Network into a fully fledged display network (also rebranded Display Network) proving that in fact traditional display (blanket run of network etc) is a thing of the past, and marketers can expect more sophistication, control and results from a new era of display. Imagine having search-like control with display - moving into 2011 we expect to see more from this new form of display marketing. end quote

3. Google versus Bing – competition will heat up

Among other things Greenlight expects:

  • Bing to imitate Google Instant Preview and introduce image previews of sites, with some additional functionality over the Google implementation such as the ability to zoom or "grab and scroll" the preview with the mouse to take a closer look before selecting which site is of interest;
  • Google to introduce a feature similar to Bing's "Recent Searches" only called "Recent Pages". It will list the viewers five most recently clicked on search results for easier recollection later on. Data pertaining to how often a site is revisited when in the respective user's recent pages list will be fed into the algorithm.

"Expect this amidst a continued advertising push by Bing throughout the year," adds Bunn.

4. Yahoo! "Rich ads in Search" proposition will take off, prompting Google to consider offering display style ads within the search engine results page (SERPs)

A little similar to Google's recent introduction of Video extensions via its AdWords programme. Yahoo! has launched its 'Rich Ads in Search' (RAIS) proposition. In summary, RAIS are designed to deeply engage the target audience through images, videos and multiple direct links to the respective site. Unlike Google, Yahoo! is offering permanent real-estate. You buy full inventory over a fixed period of time and are charged on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions).

RAIS is focused on branded search. It aims to highlight a respective brand even further, incorporate its video assets and extends its search functionality including site links and a search function in the ad as well.

The proposition is expected to increase click through rates (CTRs) significantly for brand owners. It aims to take back some of the control/brand visibility lost from affiliates and competitors.

According to Kimuyu, RAIS has to be one of the most exciting things to come from Yahoo in a while.

quoting In my opinion it is a great example of the search networks finally taking responsibility over their advertisers' brands. Although Google's version is yet to make its mark, we do expect Google to up its game, especially now Yahoo! has shown its hand. end quote

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On April 14th, Xandy said:

I'm impressed! You've mnaaged the almost impossible.