News and Press
Digital Marketing Pioneers Join Forces to Marry High-Value Search, Social and Digital Consulting and Service, with Industry-Leading Software
Digital and search marketing leader RKG today announced it has acquired Nine By Blue, ex-Googler Vanessa Fox’s software and consulting company. The combined company brings together the best minds, methodologies, and technology for deep understanding of customer intent across global digital platforms, and creates one of the most intelligent offers in search, social and digital marketing available today.
The acquisition – a 100 percent cash and stock deal –includes Blueprint, Nine By Blue’s search analytics and diagnostics proprietary software, which will become part of the RKG technology suite.
A search industry visionary, Fox is widely known as the creator of Google’s Webmaster Central and helped launch sitemaps.org. The author of Marketing in the Age of Google, Fox also serves as a contributing editor for Search Engine Land and writes for a variety of publications on search engine optimization and searcher behavior. She’s advised companies of all sizes globally, has offered advice on better citizen access to online US government information for White House online initiatives, the NIH, and other government agencies, and speaks to audiences worldwide. She is the Founder and CEO of Nine By Blue, and in joining RKG takes on the new role of Chief Product Officer.
“We are thrilled to have Vanessa, Blueprint and the Nine By Blue team join RKG,” said George Gallate, CEO, RKG. “At RKG, we unashamedly see digital through the lens of search. By using data to understand customer intent, we make marketing smarter, particularly search and social, both to build brands and create customer fulfillment. Nine By Blue is a like-minded company that shares our values of smart people using smart technology, and we’re excited about what we can achieve together.”
RKG is one of Google’s largest independent paid search agencies in terms of billings under management and was named by Advertising Age as the fastest growing search agency in their 2013 Agency Report. A recent Forrester study cited RKG as a leading Demand Generation agency, and in the Internet Retailer Top 500, RKG had the most retail clients compared to any other search agency. RKG offers a wide range of digital and search services, including pay-per-click, SEO, social media marketing, comparison shopping management, display advertising and multi-channel attribution management services.
The combined technology and robust consulting services provided by RKG analysts offers online businesses a complete solution for mining data, developing strategy and executing tactics efficiently.
“There are many synergies between the technical and consulting services of Nine By Blue and RKG,” said Fox. “We are looking forward to leveraging RKG’s established infrastructure to bring Blueprint to a broader audience, and to bring new products to market at a faster rate. We’re already collaborating on areas like social and mobile, where there is a major shift in consumer behavior and are preparing for some exciting updates to the Blueprint offering and the broader technology portfolio. Marketers need real, actionable metrics, not just more data, and need insights to better connect with audiences as online behavior shifts.”
Both Nine By Blue and RKG were founded by marketing executives who saw a need for solutions that simplified the process of acquiring, analyzing and acting on data related to customers’ online behavior. As creator of Google Webmaster Central, Fox created the tools and diagnostics to enable organizations to open up the black box of search to make their web sites found by more searchers in Google. She left Google in 2007 to start Nine By Blue, helping companies develop smart strategies around organic search data and its influence on every business function. RKG was formed by Alan Rimm-Kaufman and George Michie in 2003 after careers in online merchandising exposed them to the challenges of trying to manage paid search, statistical data capture and analysis, and IT constraints within an organization. In 2011, RKG acquired Audette Media, beefing up the agency’s SEO offering and bringing that company’s founder, Adam Audette, into the newly created position of Chief Knowledge Officer at RKG.
Commenting on the deal, Audette added, “There’s a deep need in the SEO industry for people and practices that focus on users rather than algorithms. Vanessa understands this and is a clear leader in the space. Together we will be well positioned to help our clients solve the multi-million dollar questions: ‘What are customers searching for, and why?’; ‘How can we better target these customers?’; ‘Where and how should we invest our money?’ Through data we’ll gather the information needed to answer these questions, and integrate it with our shared knowledge to create informed, ROI-focused strategies for our clients.”
In her new role, Fox will work closely with Gallate, Audette and RKG founder and Chief Marketing Scientist, George Michie, on groundbreaking product development and client strategy. Integration of Blueprint into the RKG platform has begun, with completion expected early this summer.
Fox and the Nine By Blue team will continue to be based in Seattle, operating as RKG Seattle. Additionally, RKG has offices in Boston, MA, San Francisco, CA and Bend, OR with headquarters in Charlottesville, VA.
RKG is a search and digital marketing agency that combines superior marketing talent with leading edge technology to create the industry’s most effective data-driven online marketing solutions. Founded in 2003, RKG specializes in working with clients in retail, travel, financial and B2B organizations ranging in size from small startups to Fortune 500 companies, including CareerBuilder, Drugstore.com, Express, Herman Miller, Jones New York and Zales. In 2013, RKG acquired ex-Googler Vanessa Fox’s company, Nine By Blue – creating one of the most powerful search marketing offerings globally. A recent Forrester study listed RKG as a leading Demand Generation agency, while Advertising Age ranked RKG the fastest growing search agency in 2013. A privately held company, RKG is headquartered in Charlottesville, VA with offices in Seattle, WA, San Francisco, CA, Bend, OR and Boston, MA. For more information visit www.rimmkaufman.com or follow the company on Twitter @rimmkaufman.
About Nine By Blue
Nine By Blue is a search software and consulting firm founded by SEO luminary Vanessa Fox. As creator of Google Webmaster Central and author of Marketing in the Age of Google, Fox has spoken to companies all over the world, including Disney, eBay, Microsoft, and Yahoo, as well as to organizations such as the National Press Club, the National Institutes of Health, and the Smithsonian. Nine By Blue has worked with clients such as Microsoft, Expedia, BankRate, AllRecipes, and IGN to harness the power of search for greater customer understanding and engagement. Blueprint is Nine By Blue’s signature business intelligence product that transforms SEO and web analytics data into insight and action.
Dalton Dorne, 434-220-5238
Charlottesville-based Children Youth and Family Services honored four people and two employers Wednesday with the agency’s John L. Snook Child Advocate Award and the Mitch van Yahres Family Friendly Employer Award. RKG was one of those employers. You can read the full story here: CYFS Award
RKG’s Chief Knowledge Officer was recently interviewed at SES NY for OMReport. See the full video here: http://www.omreport.com/episode-12-interview-with-adam-audette/
RKG’s Chief Knowledge Officer, Adam Audette, was recently interviewed by iACQUIRE as part of their lunch break series. See Adam speak on his unique role, e-commerce, his experience at Zappos, why ‘old SEO is the best’, and much more by clicking here!
RKG’s recent blog post on International SEO Strategy for Travel was covered by Hotel News Resource (http://www.hotelnewsresource.com/article70755.html). See the original blog post here: International SEO Strategy for Travel.
Advertisers Increase Their Mobile Spending 171% to Reach Growing Tablet and Smartphone Market
RKG, a leading full-service digital marketing agency, released its Digital Marketing Report covering the first quarter of 2013 today. The report found consumers used tablets and smartphones to conduct 25% of their online searches in Q1, a notable post-holiday uptick from the 20% level RKG observed for the previous quarter.
For the first time, RKG found search traffic for desktop and laptops declined year over year, with clicks down 0.7%. However, as consumers have shifted their searches to tablets and smartphones, total click growth remained robust at 15%.
In order to reach this rapidly growing audience, advertisers have increased their spending on tablet and smartphone search ads by a combined 171% on a year over year basis. Tablet investment was up 162%, while smartphone spending increased 190%. Overall, search spending increased 24% in Q1, with mobile cost-per-click continuing to close the gap with desktops.
Shoppers Using Tablets to Buy, But Not at Same Rates as Computers
Although more consumers are moving toward shopping with tablet devices, tablets generated 15% lower revenue per click than traditional desktops and laptops. Once a high-converting demographic, the value of tablet traffic has fallen as lower-priced Android models have gained traffic share, but generate a revenue per click that is less than half that of the iPad.
Download the full report at:
The full RKG Digital Marketing Report offers over 40 charts with additional insights and analysis on paid search, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, comparison shopping engines, multi-channel attribution and more. RKG senior leadership is available for interviews and deeper discussions of the data presented.
Among their published first quarter results, RKG found:
- Google paid search ad spend was up 20% Y/Y in Q1, which was roughly in line with Q4 growth. Ad click growth moderated, falling from 14% in Q4 to 11% in Q1, while CPCs continued their rebound, coming in 8% higher.
- Bing Ads search spending increased 48% Y/Y as the engine continued to deliver strong impression growth on expanded keyword to query matching. Ad clicks rose 44% while CPCs increased 2%.
- Mobile generated 28% of Google clicks, but just 16% of clicks for Bing Ads. On devices where they were the default search provider, each engine held a relative advantage.
- Product Listing Ads generated 33% of Google non-brand spend among RKG’s retail-leaning client sample. PLA CPCs edged up relative to text ads.
- iOS 6 devices did not pass a referrer on 75% of Google searches, resulting in 13% of Google organic searches being classified as direct by analytics packages.
- Accounting for the iOS 6 issue, organic search traffic share was steady at 35%.
- Facebook sent 30X more visits than Google+ in Q1. The entire social segment was still a small traffic referrer, sending just 2% of all site visits.
- Facebook Exchange CPMs remained well below display averages, coming in 65% lower. FBX click-through rates were 30% below average, but revenue per click was 17% higher.
- Comparison Shopping spending increased 25% Y/Y in Q1, excluding costs associated with Google PLAs.
- Shopping.com took share ahead of its rebranding as the eBay Commerce Network, generating 26% of CSE clicks and spend.
RKG is a full-service digital marketing agency that combines superior marketing talent with leading edge technology to create the industry’s most effective data-driven online marketing solutions. Founded in 2003, RKG has become one of the largest independent digital agencies, with offices in Charlottesville, VA; Bend, OR; Boston, MA and San Francisco, CA. For more information visit www.rimmkaufman.com or follow the company on Twitter: @rimmkaufman.
Get to know RKG’s Chief Knowledge Officer, Adam Audette, in this interview titled “SEO, Parental Wisdom, & Mountain Lions! Exploring the Spectrum of Adam Audette.”
MediaPost covers RKG’s video of new CEO, George Gallate, and how RKG is digging deeper into Social:
“Recent research from RKG has indicated that the Yahoo Bing Network continues to take away market share from Google, as Bing recently pointed out to us, noting that Bing Ads have gained paid search spend share from Google four quarters in a row.”…
Read more from ‘Yahoo Is Not Pleased With Its Microsoft Search Deal’ on WebProNews here: http://www.webpronews.com/yahoo-is-not-pleased-with-its-microsoft-search-deal-2013-02
‘According to a recent report from RKG:“In late 2012, Bing Ads finally seemed to be hitting its stride. Bing’s expanded ad matching capabilities are now delivering quality traffic to advertisers at much greater rates” and “Microsoft’s ongoing efforts to bring Bing Ads’ core functionality more in line with AdWords have made it easier to manage both programs, reducing barriers to entry for smaller advertisers.”…
Read more from the Bing Ads Community Forum here: Bing Ads Forum – Positive Momentum.
RKG’s Mark Ballard is quoted in today’s article on Search Engine Land: “We love to dig into our performance data to find those niche segments that perform differently and then act upon that information,” he said. “iPad users are different from Android tablet users and we see that in the numbers. Unfortunately, it looks like we will not have that level of control or some of the other functionality we’d like to have with the initial launch of Enhanced Campaigns.”
Read the entire article here: http://searchengineland.com/googles-enhanced-campaigns-inspire-love-hate-and-hope-for-the-next-version-147896