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May 6, 2014, Charlottesville, VA – For the second year in a row, RKG, a leading search and digital marketing agency, has the highest number of Internet Retailer Top 500® clients of any other search agency, and provides digital marketing services to over 15% of the IR Top 500® retailers that partner with an agency in some capacity.

Each year, Internet Retailer releases its Top 500 Guide®, which ranks the largest retail web sites in terms of their e-commerce sales from the previous year. RKG works with 50 of the IR Top 500® retailers listed in the 2014 guide, up from 44 in 2013 – working with 10 more clients than the second closest agency, iProspect.

“We are excited to once again be the search agency with the most IR Top 500 clients,” said George Gallate, RKG CEO. “The fact that RKG continues to be the preferred search agency partner for top retailers underlines our expertise at delivering performance-driven results that matter to retailers. The combination of our powerful, proprietary technology and smart account teams continues to set us apart from the competition.” More »

RKG Outpaces Search Industry Growth by 253%

April 28, 2014, Charlottesville, VA – RKG, a leading search and digital marketing agency, was again recognized as the fastest growing independent search agency by Advertising Age for the second consecutive year, according to the 2014 AdAge Agency Report for Largest U.S. Search-Marketing Agencies.

AdAge’s 2014 Agency Report saw RKG move up three places from last year, to 15th largest search agency, ranking among the top three search agencies in terms of overall growth.

“RKG continues to see notable growth across all our service offerings by leveraging our proprietary technology to help our clients achieve Digital Visibility,” said George Gallate, RKG CEO. “As the fastest-growing independent search agency last year, we’re extremely proud to see our continued momentum again represented in the AdAge Agency Report. Our priority is helping our clients grow and surpass their digital objectives, and that’s what we remain focused on as we move forward.”

RKG saw search revenue grow by 47% in 2013, more than triple the industry average. Since 2008, RKG’s search offering has grown by more than 300%, and the company saw overall growth of 50% last year alone.
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In AdWords latest blog about ‘Sharing the Latest AdWords Innovations,’ RKG is featured in the section title ‘Better Measurement=Better Campaigns:’

“The feedback on Estimated Total Conversions has been great, so we’re continuing to invest in this product. As people search more online for local businesses and then go into the store to make purchases, we’re testing ways to measure the effectiveness of search ads at driving in-store sales, using anonymized purchase data from retail partners. RKG and fashion retailer, Express, very early testers, found that overall return on ad spend increases 102% when including offline sales in online advertising results.”

Read the entire article by clicking here.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Google Shares Slide After Disappointing Results
Smaller-Than-Seen Earnings Increase Comes as Company Deals With Less Money Per Ad Click

Google Inc. GOOGL -4.98% posted a 3.2% increase in first-quarter net income amid a continuing decline in how much advertisers pay per click, as users shift to smartphones and tablets.
The Internet-search giant said revenue rose 19% to $15.42 billion. Analysts had projected revenue of $15.54 billion on that basis, according to Thomson Reuters.

Investors were disappointed by Google’s financial figures, sending its shares down 5% in after-hours trading. The stock finished 4 p.m. trading at $563.90, barely higher than the price at the beginning of 2014.

Google reported net income of $3.45 billion, or $5.04 per share, up from earnings in the year-earlier period of $3.35 billion, or $4.97 per share. The per-share figures are adjusted for the two-for-one stock split.

Excluding stock-based compensation and other items, Google said earnings were $6.27 per share, below the average analyst estimate of $6.41 a share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Advertising revenue was driven by more clicks on advertiser links next to Google’s search results, which increased 26% from the prior year. At the same time, the amount Google gets paid per click fell 9% compared with the prior year, continuing a trend as a higher percentage of searches occur on smartphones, where Google’s clicks are less valuable.

The smaller screens and limited bandwidth of smartphones make them a less-appealing tool than desktop computers for consumers looking to buy products or services online. Marketers that work with digital ad firm Rimm Kaufman Group paid about 60% less for smartphone clicks than desktop clicks in the first quarter in order to generate an equivalent payback.

Update: WSJ article extended here http://on.wsj.com/1qPjiog and in the print edition (4-17-2014)

RKG released its quarterly Digital Marketing Report on April 15, 2014 and was covered in Search Engine Land:
“RKG is out with its first quarter Digital Marketing Report today, showing US paid search spend increased 17 percent year-over-year…”
“Among RKG’s client set, Bing Product Ads and Google Product Listing Ads continue to drive most of the growth in paid search…”
“RKG reports that smartphone RPC, is making progress, however, rising from 23 percent of desktop in Q1 of last year to 34 percent in Q1 2014…”

To read the full article, click here.

April 15, 2014, Charlottesville, VARKG, a leading full-service digital marketing agency, released its Digital Marketing Report today, covering the first quarter of 2014. By analyzing data across its client base, which includes over 40 of the IR Top 500 Retailers, RKG’s report provides insight into trends for search, SEO, product listing ads, display advertising, social media, comparison shopping engines, and more.

The first quarter of 2014 saw continued growth across channels, as total paid search spend increased 17% from last year and organic search share stayed relatively constant. Mobile devices played a notable role in growth trends, while Product Listing Ads (PLAs) continue to drive paid search growth.

Mobiles Devices Now Account for One-Third of Search Traffic

While desktop visits for organic search are declining, mobile clicks in Q1 grew by 29% over this time last year. Mobile accounts for 33% of organic traffic on Google and 36% on Yahoo. And while mobile clicks contributed to just 16% of Bing organic traffic, this figure doubled from Q1 of 2013.

Paid search data shows similar trends. Smartphones and tablets each account for 18% of paid clicks, together contributing over a third of all search traffic. Comparing this quarter’s data to Q1 of last year, we see that smartphone clicks increased by 64%, while tablet clicks increased by 56%. Meanwhile, desktop traffic declined by 3% compared to this time last year.

Product Ads Now 50% of Non-Brand Google Search; Growing on Bing

Image-based product ads, including Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs) and Bing’s Product Ads, are greatly outpacing text ad growth in terms of both traffic and ad spend. While text ad spending rose by just 6% year-over-year on a 4% increase in clicks, product ads saw a 69% increase in ad spend and a 51% increase in click traffic from Q1 of 2013.

PLAs on Google recorded a 14% stronger ROI than text ads in Q1. While CPCs averaged 8% higher than text ads, conversion rates were 50% higher for the RKG client base, making PLAs attractive to both Google and advertisers. As a result, Google gave PLAs greater prominence in search rankings this quarter, resulting in further traffic gains. PLAs now account for 29% of all paid clicks on Google, and 50% of non-brand clicks.

Image-based product ads also made strides on Bing, whose product ad format came out of beta at the beginning of the quarter. Bing product ads accounted for 12% of non-brand revenue in Q1, compared to just 8% in Q4 of 2013. Even more promising, revenue per click (RPC) for Bing product ads is now 79% higher than comparable text ads, while in Q4 beta participants saw a RPC that was 22% lower than non-brand text ad levels. More »

March 24, 2014 – Virginia Business Leaders – RKG – When leading e-retailers look for ways to market smarter and more efficiently, more of them turn to RKG than any other search and digital agency in the country. And for good reason. The Charlottesville-based company uses powerful proprietary technology and brilliant analysts to generate more clicks, more conversions, more ROI. More »

Excerpts from MediaPost article:
“What will advertisements look like on wearable devices, and how will the auction model work, as Google plans to extend its Android operating system to support smartwatches and other wearable devices?…”
“Rimm-Kaufman Group scientist George Michie believes the devices will capitalize on local search marketing and advertising. He said the opportunities tie primarily to GPS and location-based signals. The technology applications already exist. Russian search engine Yandex owns one type that would work well in wearable devices. In fact, the company acquired it recently with the acquisition of KitLocate.

Michie believes content will become the ads for the small screen, serving up as wearers pass by the physical store. This will likely that mean opt-in services and frequency governors to prevent spam that would make these devices more annoying than useful. “I might give my device permission to push entertainment offers to me for a period of time, or dinner suggestions, or let it know that I’m interested in vacation ideas,” he said.”

Read the full article here: MediaPost

As posted on Google’s AdWords blog: “Last year, we introduced Shopping campaigns to a limited number of advertisers as a new, retail-centric way to manage and promote your products on Google. It allows you to browse your inventory directly in AdWords, streamlining how you organize, bid and report on your Product Listing Ads.”

See what RKG’s Director of CSEs and Feeds, Todd Bowman, as well as the test advertisers have to say about this development here: Shopping campaigns now available to all advertisers around the world

UPDATE: Todd Bowman speaks to MediaPost about Google’s Shopping Campaigns

Digital Bowl Assesses Search & Social Efforts of Super Bowl Advertisers
February 4, 2014, Charlottesville, VA – Leading search and digital marketing agency, RKG, today released its first Digital Bowl Report – evaluating the digital efforts of Super Bowl advertisers. Specifically, the report looks at social media, SEO and paid search, with Jaguar and H&M ranking in first and second position, respectively.

“Creating visibility for a brand is much more than breakthrough creative, high production value and $4 million for media. It’s about using all the marketing levers, in a thoughtful way, to ensure that your brand is discoverable and that you capture the buzz of a high profile event. The Super Bowl’s marketing winners and losers used to be determined subjectively as a creative assessment. No doubt creativity is critical. But so is people seeing and talking about your brand before and after the $4 million lights up the screen. Search, paid and organic, as well as social, and how these work together, determine the real business value of the efforts made in Super Bowl,” said George Gallate, CEO, RKG.
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