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Welcome Google Instant

Live from Google:

Google Instant, updating results as you type is officially launched.

The benefit to users? Less time scanning results, less time trying to find the right words to search, no need to type “enter”.

The benefit to advertisers? More accurate results, fewer “bad clicks”, more targeted search and more traffic on the long tail.

The benefit to Google? More valuable traffic means higher CPCs and more value per search experience.

We’re big fans already!

UPDATES:

Google will only count the impression if the ad appears for more than 3 seconds, so may not impact CTR and Impression counts too much.

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Comments
32 Responses to “Welcome Google Instant”
  1. I agree that this will extend tail searches not limit them (as others have speculated). It will be very interesting to see all the impacts.

  2. Matt says:

    I think that is great helps lower my search times.

  3. As Matt Mierzejewski, our VP of Client Service, points out: Interesting to see what happens to impression counts and click-through rates as ads blast by as you type.

  4. Craig, to my thinking Google wouldn’t go this direction if it didn’t reduce bounce rates and repeat searches. It has to increase relevance and improve user experience which adds value to the traffic…which means we advertisers will be happy to pay more for it!

    Exciting.

    Interesting how this will roll out to the Google Search Bar or iGoogle. It doesn’t work right now, but maybe in the future.

  5. Jc says:

    So what you’re saying George, is that you have full faith in whatever Google does lol.

  6. I have full faith that whatever Google does will benefit Google. In this case, I think it will benefit users and advertisers as well.

  7. Jc says:

    Now my question is, do you share the same level of faith about Bing? Haha.

  8. :-) Somewhat less so…Yahoo?…don’t get me started :-)

  9. Dale Stokdyk says:

    George, I use the Google Search Bar 99% of the time — I wonder about others?

    Was fascinating to watch the search results change as I typed at Google.com; note that signing out of your Google account turns off Google Instant!

  10. Dale it’s a great question. I wonder what fraction of searches actually happen from Google.com vs toolbars vs an iGoogle homepage?

  11. Jc says:

    I think it will be very interesting what will happen to impressions and CTR. Based on the assumption that whatever Google does increases their bottom line, lets also assume this feature also increases CTR. That is contrary to common sense when you think about Google Instant, which in my mind, almost guarantees an influx of additional impressions when you consider the capricious nature of consumers. This makes me think that the 3 second rule is set precisely so that it is above the threshold such that CTR is higher, on average, than it was before Google Instant was released. Note that this is also based on the assumption that, in the perspective of users, ad relevancy has not changed (ads are the same today when Google Instant was released as they are yesterday). By controlling their measurement of impressions, they are able to manage CTR such that it is still ‘compatible’ with their Quality Score algorithm. How QS is affected becomes an interesting question…

  12. Great point, JC,

    They made the comment during the press conference that they think* users will conduct more searches around the peripheries of a topic, so I suspect the issue is less about CTR, than about 1) Clicks per “search event”; and 2) CPC.

    * Google doesn’t “think” this, I guarantee it’s been calculated to the penny by their testing phase.

  13. Dale Stokdyk says:

    For me, it’s hard to believe the 3 second rule is enough — in my gut, I suspect impressions will increase.

    Also, I noticed that I was focusing on the organic search results as I entered various searches, which also argues for a lower CTR (my attention was drawn away from the ads).

  14. Another interesting possibility: If users no longer scroll, but “just keep typing” does that mean that the click volume on ads below the fold (and organic listings as well) will drop further, making the only ads available the higher priced top 5 or so?

  15. Dale, it will be fascinating to see how this plays out. I have to believe that it won’t result in a greater propensity for people to use the organic listings rather than the ads. Google has tested this thoroughly, and I can’t believe they would roll it out if it hurt their bottom line.

  16. Art says:

    Here are some observations I have so far. 1. Example: In my daycare campaign I have “jobs” as a negative phrase match keyword. When I do a search for “las vegas daycare”, one of the suggested queries includes “jobs” and my ad still shows. I could potentially receive lower quality traffic based on the actual intent of the searcher. 2. In my garage Door campaign, through extensive testing and analysis I have determined that the more general keywords “Garage Door” and “Garage Doors” have a higher CPL with lower call volumes than my Garage Door Repair keywords. based on that I had typically targeted lower % budget and lower CPCs for “Garage Door” keywords. Now I may be forced to place more budget and higher CPCs on “Garage Door” because of Instant Search. It could however lower my CPL on the shorter search terms. we shall see.

  17. Jc says:

    Yeah when you’re talking about Google, they already have a large set of randomly sampled statistics on user behavior from their tests such that they know the metrics will work for them. What they DON’T know is if there will be a change in user behavior due to psychological trends in how people search. Perhaps 3 seconds works now, but what happens when there is a shift in behavior and all of a sudden measured impressions increase or decrease significantly more than the metrics from Google’s standard search behavior? I have a sneaking suspicion that there is more than 1 quality score algorithm running at a time.

  18. John Ellis says:

    As a paid search marketer, I am little concerned about the long-tail effect.

    Hopefully, I am wrong.

    FYI – See my thoughts here: http://searchengineland.com/will-google-instant-kill-the-long-tail-50110

  19. John says:

    I too am concerned about the long tail effect. Users are going to have to “wade” through competing websites to find anything that’s optimized for the long tail

  20. John E., thanks for stopping by! You make an excellent point over as SEL, but I think what will happen is a positive selection bias.

    The Keyword “Las Vegas” performs poorly for hotel chains because many of the people searching are looking for “show tickets”, maps, the movie Leaving Las Vegas, flights, insurance quotes, veterinarians, whatever. If someone is looking for a hotel in Las Vegas and stops their search after typing Las V because they’ve seen a hotel ad that’s attractive, that’s likely to be a valuable click.

    I think we’re going to see an increase in the value of the traffic because of the selection effect, and I think folks who weren’t looking for a hotel will keep typing until they find what they want. Fewer “bad” clicks on the head terms, more targeted clicks on the tail = win + win.

    All sheer speculation, of course! We shall see.

  21. Art, your observations about negatives are very interesting. Hopeful the selection bias will get people to read before they click, so they won’t be attracted to your ad if they’re in the job market, but historically we certainly have found that people don’t read the ad copy very carefully.

  22. Jc says:

    John E., I think it’s clear that in order to relieve your concerns you just need to embrace your inner redneck lol.

    But seriously, I think there will be two types of searchers (as well as those that reside in-between): those who will type their entire query and those who are willing to wade through each query refresh. People who make long tail queries will continue to do so because they want to see that additional bit of relevance. ‘Las’ may show hotels, but the long-tail searcher already has in mind the specific terms they want to append, and they want to see an ad thats relevant to that; the only way to do so is if they actually search using that piece of the long-tail term.

    On the other hand, I think it may be a legitimate concern if this ends up favoring bigger companies (those with the budgets to spend on general terms).

  23. Hi George,

    I just posted my analysis on Google Instant on the EF blog.

    Would love to hear your comments !

    http://blog.efrontier.com

    Sid

  24. Hi Sid, I left a comment on the EF post…someone deleted it :-(

  25. John Ellis says:

    JC – Yes, clearly Google has targeted my region as having, let’s say, certain characteristics.

    It’s interesting to see how this all is going to roll-out. I definitely have my concerns. I understand the two audiences, but I want both.

    I fear that we may be eliminating the small-budget companies and only allowing the big boys to compete.

  26. Art says:

    Another observation is that SEO for singular keywords will be a little more of a priority over SEO for plural keywords.

  27. Jason Jimenez says:

    Google instant is amazing!

  28. Thanks for your comments George. I got them posted on our website. It has come under the CPC section.

    Your tail comment is interesting. I cant say what will happen for sure except that both the head and the tail term popularity are under Google’s control more than ever.

    I think the brand bias is definitely going to make them more money and going to drive up CPCs on brands.

    Sid

  29. Jc says:

    Art, you said “I could potentially receive lower quality traffic based on the actual intent of the searcher.” Well this has always been the case with general terms. Google Instant does not change this fact. Simply because “jobs” shows up on Google Suggest doesn’t mean it shouldn’t show your ad because you have jobs as a neg. Google Instant displays the SERP based on its prediction of the last word you type in the query, so a query of “Las Vegas Daycare” is just that; “Jobs” doesn’t become a part of the query (and thus does not calculate into your negs) until the user types that “J” after “Daycare”.

  30. teak root furniture says:

    Google instant is amazing!
    very helpful to determine the next target of my keywords

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