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  1. #1
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    [EN] Why Amazon Is The New Google

    Scott Gillum
    September 14, 2017

    They’re called the “duopoly” of online advertising. Facebook and Google account for 75% of the U.S. digital ad spend — and almost all of its growth, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

    Facebook reported 45% growth in the last quarter and Google’s parent company Alphabet posted earnings of $26 billion, 87% coming from advertising revenue.

    But are these behemoths about to be blindsided by a fierce competitor with a better ROI?

    A consumer research study for a beverage manufacturer uncovered an interesting trend, one that might tip the scale for advertisers. Consumers who had an Amazon Prime account started their search for a purchase at Amazon 100% of the time. If they knew what they wanted to buy, they went directly to Amazon to search for different brands with the best price and delivery options.

    With 85 million Amazon Prime members as of June 2017, it’s not going to take long for consumer brands to discover that if you want to invest ad dollars in finding buyers with high purchase intent and conversion rates, Amazon is going to be hard to ignore.



    Although its ad business is small in comparison to Google and Facebook, with only 1% of global ads, it actually is one of Amazon’s fastest growing areas, now on track to generate close to $2 billion this year.

    Amazon also offers organizations a broad spectrum of advertising products, ranging from its ad platform offering mobile and desktop display and banner ads, to dynamic and coupon ads. Customer campaign pages allow advertisers to create immersive cross-platform landing pages that can display more than one product.

    With the digital ad market predicted to grow at 16% this year to $83 billion according to eMarketer, the Facebook-Google duopoly will get its fair share, and almost all of the attention, especially considering the growth of Facebook’s Snapchat ad revenue, up 158% in the past year. And that may be just how Amazon likes it. It has a history of sneaking up on competitors. Just ask Microsoft and IBM about Amazon Web Services (AWS).

    Andy Jassy, the AWS CEO, said that in some ways the growth of his business was a classic case of disruption dynamics. “The competition simply didn’t believe there was enough of a market to worry about it. The dominant players don’t have any reason to worry about someone attacking the bottom of the market.” AWS now owns a third of the cloud infrastructure services market, more than three times that of its next closest competitors.

    Amazon seems to follow Al Pacino’s “never let them see you coming” advice from “The Devil’s Advocate.” But one ad executive — Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP’s CEO — has noticed. In a recent interview with Bloomberg said, Sorrell said, “The company that would worry me if I was a client — or I think worries our clients, more than Google and Facebook — is Amazon.”

    Smart ad dollars follow consumer behavior — and, as we just learned, those consumers are headed to Amazon.

    https://www.mediapost.com/publicatio...or-buying.html



    Henry Blaufox, September 15, 2017 at 1:59 p.m.

    Does this make Amazon the new Yellow Pages? End of funnel, high intent, price and location (delivery turnaround) sensitive.

  2. #2
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    Amazon's ad business is growing

    Advertising – already worth an estimated $1.7bn and set to reach $7bn by 2020 on some estimates – is likely to remain a secondary business

    14 September 2017

    Advertising accounts for only around 1% of Amazon’s annual revenues but that is set to change thanks to a combination of its unrivalled shopping data, new ad tech tools and its lead in voice technology as well as changing consumer behaviour.

    A new WARC Trends Snapshot, Amazon’s growing advertising empire, explores how the online retail giant is poised to make further inroads into the digital advertising sector and potentially break the dominance of Google and Facebook.

    Research suggests that over 50% of product searches in key markets now begin on Amazon, rather than on Google.

    That in itself marks a significant shift, one that gives Amazon greater influence higher up the funnel, as well as lower down at the point of purchase. It adds the element of consumer intent to its huge store of data about actual purchases.

    As a result, brands are beginning to shift search marketing budgets towards the e-commerce platform.

    At the same time, the company has been developing its Amazon Media Group division and its range of self-service tools for advertisers.

    Its Echo device has also grabbed the attention of consumers, with advertisers experimenting with how they can unlock the Alexa voice-activated personal assistant for search marketing purposes.

    These factors haves resulted in agency groups developing dedicated Amazon practices, much as they created social media agencies in response to the rise of Facebook and Twitter a decade ago.

    Frank Kochenash, global senior vice president, commerce, at POSSIBLE – who will oversee WPP’s new dedicated Amazon practice – says there is a growing appreciation of Amazon as a multi-faceted platform, offering retail, search, media and voice opportunities for brands.

    “As a media channel, we believe Amazon will grow to rival Facebook and Google in size and importance,” he told WARC.

    “The growth in importance is not just due to Amazon’s audience size,” he added. “It has exceptionally good data on its audience, knowing important browsing and purchasing activities. As its offerings grow to include more video and music content, Amazon’s ability to understand its audience will also grow.”

    That much is indisputable, but Amazon’s priority will surely continue to be its own relationship with its customers and how it can persuade them to spend more.

    Advertising – already worth an estimated $1.7bn and set to reach $7bn by 2020 on some estimates – is likely to remain a secondary business, albeit one that brands, especially those selling through the platform, can profitably utilise.

    https://www.warc.com/newsandopinion/..._growing/39283

  3. #3
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    The myth: “The majority of retail searches now happen on Amazon”

    This myth has been repeated so many times, it’s often taken as fact just from repetition. It is likely derived from studies that report 56 percent of consumers begin their shopping journey on Amazon. The issue lies in the fact that this number is getting misinterpreted as 55 percent of overall retail searches happen on Amazon — which isn’t true.


    Amazon vs. search: Why you shouldn’t put too many eggs in one shopping basket

    Where should retail marketers focus most of their time and effort: search or Amazon?

    Purna Virji
    September 14, 2017

    No matter where they’re located or what market they serve, retailers around the globe have questions about how consumers use search and Amazon.

    At Bing (my employer), we’ve found that retailers — regardless of size — ask us about the same three things:

    1. Where do consumers look for products online?
    2. How do users behave differently on search vs. Amazon?
    3. Can my search and Amazon channels benefit each other?


    The answers are likely to surprise you.

    The consumer decision journey looks incredibly complicated to us marketers with its interweaving between research, comparison, intent and transaction, but it feels far less complicated from the consumer point of view.

    As consumers, we follow certain behavior patterns almost subconsciously:

    • If we have questions around what it is we need, or want more information before we make a selection, then it’s natural to turn to search.
    • If we know what we’re looking to buy, often we have a predefined preference for which retailer website to begin looking for it.


    For many customers, Amazon is a place to start. But is it where customers do most of their shopping-related searches? And is it also the place that they end their journey?

    Our company’s search market intelligence team sought to find out.

    (continua)

  4. #4
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    1. Where do consumers look for products online?

    The goal of the test was to study how consumers shopped online, and to learn how search and Amazon fit in within the customer decision journey.

    Testing methodology

    • We used a sample of 9 million US users who conducted a retail-related search or visited Amazon on a web browser.
    • We tracked the user activity on Amazon and Bing and categorized users in different retail categories based on their searches.
    • We tracked the user journey, from searching on our site to visiting and searching on Amazon, and vice versa, to understand patterns around user groups that come back to the search engine.
    • We scaled the analysis using comScore data to be representative of mobile and app usage.


    The myth

    “The majority of retail searches now happen on Amazon.”

    This myth has been repeated so many times, it’s often taken as fact just from repetition. It is likely derived from studies that report 56 percent of consumers begin their shopping journey on Amazon. The issue lies in the fact that this number is getting misinterpreted as 55 percent of overall retail searches happen on Amazon — which isn’t true.

    The thing to remember is that survey data, while extremely valuable, may not always tell you the full story. Often, the decisions we make are formed by unconscious biases or are very generalized, so we can’t speak to our actions with a 100 percent degree of accuracy.

    Think about this: If you’ve ever started your product search on Amazon, does that mean that you would always turn to Amazon to start your search for every single product? Or that you don’t conduct any searches after Amazon?

    We know conceptually that is not true, so the researchers used behavioral data to answer that question.

    The reality

    The reality is, we turn to Amazon for only certain types of searches, mainly the lower-funnel ones. But those are only a small fraction of the overall universe of retail searches — nowhere near the 55 percent that is often cited.

    For example, think of queries like “best brand of wedding china,” “how do I cure a migraine” or “what’s better for you propolis or bee pollen.” Would your natural instinct for those queries be to turn to a search engine or to Amazon?

    More than likely, your answer would be the former, since at the moment, the latter isn’t really built to answer these questions. Case in point:



    Search, on the other hand, is used for queries that span the entire range of the funnel, and that’s where logic would dictate the majority of retail searches occur.

    The research agrees.

    The results

    In reviewing millions of users across our data set and comScore’s panel, the team’s research found that most retail searches don’t happen on Amazon; instead, 70 percent of them happen on top search engines.



    A study conducted by Rand Fishkin at Moz earlier this year, which analyzed clickstream data via Jumpshot, came to a similar conclusion. Fishkin asked Jumpshot to compare 10 distinct web properties, add together all the searches they receive combined, and share the percent distribution.

    The data found that Amazon received only 1.85 percent of searches, whereas Bing, Yahoo and Google combined received 64 percent of searches.


    What does that mean for marketers?

    Amazon is a strong retail channel and continues to grow, though marketers should be careful not to overcorrect. Search not only stands strong as a retail channel, but it can also help complement and strengthen an Amazon strategy as well.

    (continua)

  5. #5
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    2. How do users behave differently on search vs. Amazon?

    In looking to identify how user behavior differed across search and Amazon, we found that 27 percent of users (about 38 million people in the US) did not visit Amazon either before or after searching on Bing.

    These are valuable audiences that are looking for your product information online and buying them in physical stores or other online channels.

    Even more interestingly, the research found that even the audiences that were common between search and Amazon exhibited different behaviors across each platform.

    Testing methodology

    Exclusive Audience using our search engine:

    • We collected data from Nov 1-7, 2016, using Web Browser Logs (US only).
    • We tracked the user activity on Amazon and Bing and categorized users based on queries searched.
    • We filtered for users that do retail-related searches on a search engine (combination of various categories such as: Autos; Guns; Sports & Recreation; Office Products; Health & Wellness; Beauty & Fragrance; Clothing & Shoes; Jewelry & Watches; Home Furnishings; Kitchen & Housewares) and computed exclusivity of these search users that don’t visit Amazon.
    • We scaled the users to overall population based on comScore’s panel.
    • Similar distributions of overall exclusive users were found on larger time periods (~1.5-2 months).


    The results

    In addition to the discovery that 27 percent of users of our search engine did not visit Amazon at all, the research then drilled down within the 73 percent of users who did use both Amazon and Bing. They unearthed something very interesting.

    Approximately 80 percent of users (out of that 73 percent) who do a retail search on Bing and also visit Amazon do not perform the same retail category searches on both sites.

    That means that Sally could be looking at buying perfume and, when she seeks information on a search engine, she could be directed to many different sites and eventually buy offline. Sally has also visited Amazon during that time period, but her searches could have been for something different, such as a toy for a child’s birthday.

    This behavior was seen across several categories, a few of which are listed in the screen shot below. There are definitely cases where there is a continuation of searches from search to Amazon or vice versa, but that represents the minority, or only about 20-25 percent of the users.

    The graph below represents the percentage of shopping-oriented users that visit Amazon but do not search within same category on Amazon:



    We can see that for categories like Beauty & Fragrance or Toys, the percent of searchers who do not search within the same category are 82 percent and 77 percent, respectively.

    And what of those 20-25 percent of searchers who did related subsequent searches between the two sites?

    Shoppers use search for top- through bottom-of-funnel activities. For example, let’s look at data from a client who sells cold and flu medicine, whose pattern holds true across multiple categories.



    You can see that search spans the spectrum of upper funnel queries, like “flu symptoms,” down to lower funnel queries, like “cold medicine.” Aside from the typing-averse consumers typing in “cold,” most of their searches are for “cold or cough medicine.

    When was the last time you asked Amazon for flu symptoms or sore throat remedies?

    Higher funnel searches (queries like “flu symptoms,” “sore throat remedies,” “cold symptoms,” “how to get rid of cold” in the Health & Wellness category) are not searched at all on Amazon.

    Search is also relevant in cases when users are researching what to buy or where to buy it. Very often, search engines are used as a trusted utility to help people make informed decisions, such as determining the best product or finding the best deal.

    You can see the stark popularity of users relying on search engines for this information relative to Amazon in the chart below.



    What can marketers do?

    The upper-funnel queries serve as a great opportunity to market your brand via search to shoppers who are showing clear and strong intent for product categories or are in situations where your product can help meet their needs.

    Search continues to be the most relevant channel for the research phase of most consumer journeys because this is the stage at which users are seeking the background information they need to become more informed on what they are seeking to buy.

    As a result, advertisers lacking a presence on the major search engines can lose out on critical stages of the consumer decision journey.

    (continua)

  6. #6
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    3. How can search complement your Amazon strategy?

    Finally, our search market intelligence team wanted to understand the impact of search ads on subsequent shopper behavior on Amazon. After all, why would you invest in upper- and lower-funnel terms if they didn’t result in higher consumer engagement?

    The team looked at users over a period of seven months, with the criteria being that these users searched for a non-brand/category term. They then segmented them into two cohorts. One was exposed to an ad for that product brand, and the other group was not. Both groups visited Amazon subsequently.

    Testing methodology

    Case study on brand exposure and behavior on Amazon:

    • We collected data over seven nonconsecutive months (June-Aug. 2016; Nov. 2016-Feb. 2017) using Web Browser Logs (US only).
    • We tracked the user activity on Amazon and Bing.
    • We filtered for users that do searches related to a particular product on Bing (some product examples include diapers, laptops and detergent); we categorized users based on whether or not they were exposed to a particular brand ad for those terms.
    • We tracked the activity of the two groups on Amazon and identified the proportion of users that visited that particular brand’s product page on Amazon.
    • We expanded the terms to then include other top online retailers.


    The results

    Users exposed to product brands via search ads are two to four times more likely to visit the same brand product page when they subsequently visit Amazon. You can see a few of the categories measured in the screen shot below.



    This test was also run on other major online retailers, such as Walmart and Target, and lift was an average 20 percent higher than that observed on Amazon.

    What can marketers do?

    Search enables the user to discover brands, thus creating brand awareness, which leads to better conversions on multiple channels.

    In addition to product listing ads via shopping campaigns, be sure to run text ads for direct and indirect brand terms, as well as top products, across both Bing and Google. Take advantage of new ad product releases to make the text ads even more compelling.

    For example, Bing has recently updated its Sitelink Extensions policy to allow advertisers who don’t have their own retail capability to link directly to their Amazon product page:



    This can even be combined with the Price Extension available on Google AdWords, and currently in pilot on Bing Ads, to include the price in the ad copy, sending valuable users to the retail channels of your choice.



    On Google AdWords, an interesting new ad extension to try out would be their Promotion Extension.


    In summary

    Amazon is incredibly important — and so is search. Don’t overcorrect, in either direction, the spend and efforts between the two channels.

    The bulk of retail searches still happen on search engines, and behavior is different across search and Amazon. The kinds of searches consumers do on search span upper funnel and lower funnel, while Amazon is mainly for very low-funnel queries.

    Advertisers would benefit from using both platforms together to expand customer reach and create additional synergies and enjoy an overall lift in conversions and profit.

    The research has proven just how effective that can be.

    http://searchengineland.com/amazon-v...-basket-281766

  7. #7
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    Amazon can be an ‘insanely disruptive’ platform for challenger brands

    Elaine Watson
    12-Sep-2017

    Florida-based Pyure Brands – which was founded by Ben Fleischer in 2008 with $200k of his own cash and is still 100% owned by him – is growing strongly as consumers embrace organic and non-GMO options in a category that has started to get confusing for consumers, VP sales & marketing Mark Eisenacher told FoodNavigator-USA.

    “Some of the big names [in table stevia-based sweeteners] such as Truvia, Stevia in the Raw and PureVia are pretty flat, while we are growing 50% year-on-year.”

    Revenues – which are split fairly evenly between retail and industrial customers - will be “fast approaching $20m,” in 2017, added Eisenacher, who said business with Amazon really started to take off after more dedicated resources were put behind the platform around 18 months ago.

    “Our Walmart sales are up 30% year-on-year and Walmart is our biggest retail customer at this point, but we’re seeing phenomenal growth on Amazon, which is quickly becoming our second largest customer.”

    In bricks and mortar accounts, he said, “Category leaders still dictate the shelf set to some extent, regardless of performance, and even if your sales are great, you still have to wait a year or even more for the reset [when you might secure more facings].

    By contrast, anyone can list their products on Amazon, and if you perform well and get great reviews, you move up in terms of search and placement very quickly; things happen in real time, you don’t have to wait for the re-set. It’s more of a meritocracy, and that’s insanely disruptive.”

    In the bricks & mortar space, the tabletop sweeteners category is a bit of a mixed bag right now, with “artificials declining 7-9%, and stevia growing at around 1-2%,” said Eisenacher.

    Retailers are re-allocating space to reflect the new reality, although the deep pockets of some of the established players have enabled them to retain space that their sales arguably do not warrant, he said.

    “They aren’t taking artificials away because there’s still a lot of volume and dollar sales there and a ton of trade money, but we are making the case to them that if they reduce their Equal [aspartame] or Sweet n’ Low [saccharin] facings from five to three, or seven to five, and give us more space instead, we can bring real growth to the category.”

    As for Pyure’s potential, he added: “The fact we’re growing so strongly at Walmart proves this is not just a Whole Foods, specialty product.”

    ...

    “It’s a real David and Goliath story. We’re up against all these big sugar companies and don’t have the marketing spend of Truvia [owned by Cargill] or Cumberland [Sweet n’Low, Stevia in the Raw] but the fact we’ve been so successful in spite of this is a testament to the quality of our products.

    ...

    http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Man...organic-stevia



    "if you perform well and get great reviews, you move up in terms of search and placement very quickly"

    Possivelmente, em algum momento os usuários irão se cansar de resultados de mecanismos de busca ordenados por poder econômico (ex: leilões) e outros incentivos (ex: comissões) mas a Amazon faz também e faz pior. É um risco e tanto basear um negócio nessas buscas.
    Última edição por 5ms; 17-09-2017 às 11:09.

  8. #8
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    56% of US, UK, German and French shoppers use Amazon as a starting point

    22 percent “won’t look anywhere else if they see a product that looks suitable on Amazon.”

    26 percent check Amazon in retail stores. This “showrooming” behavior is not a new finding, but it’s a significant figure.

    Greg Sterling
    September 14, 2017

    Another survey has highlighted Amazon’s outsized role in shopping and product discovery. This one comes from performance marketing platform Kenshoo.

    The company commissioned a survey of 3,100 consumers in the US, the UK, Germany and France. The survey findings echo others before it that show Amazon is either the starting point for product research or plays a prominent role in the customer purchase process.

    According to the survey, more people across these markets actually use Google in shopping and product discovery, however, Amazon is consulted by 56 percent as their starting point. That’s the highest percentage I’ve seen to date.

    The numbers were fairly consistent across markets. However, in the US, Facebook played a larger role than in the other countries, with 36 percent saying they use it before making a purchase. Bing, Pinterest, Instagram, blogs and Twitter were also consulted by shoppers in smaller numbers.

    The survey found that 26 percent check Amazon in retail stores. This “showrooming” behavior is not a new finding, but it’s a significant figure. Perhaps more striking than any of the above were the following, however

    • 22 percent “won’t look anywhere else if they see a product that looks suitable on Amazon.”
    • 51 percent say that “even if they find something that seems right on another site, they will usually look on Amazon to find alternative ideas, compare prices or gather more information before making a purchase.”


    These numbers show consumer loyalty and the gravitational pull that Amazon has during the purchase process. And while the data show there are multiple consumer touch points and shopping tools, for a growing number of people, Amazon has become the Alpha and Omega of product search.

    http://searchengineland.com/report-g...loyalty-282570

  9. #9
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    Google US

    Rand Fishkin
    March 14th, 2017

    One of the marketing world's greatest frustrations has long been the lack of data from Google and other search engines about the behavior of users on their platforms. Occasionally, Google will divulge a nugget of bland, hard-to-interpret information about how they process more than X billion queries, or how many videos were uploaded to YouTube, or how many people have found travel information on Google in the last year. But these numbers aren't specific enough, well-sourced enough, nor do they provide enough detail to be truly useful for all the applications we have.

    Marketers need to know things like: How many searches happen each month across various platforms? Is Google losing market share to Amazon? Are people really starting more searches on YouTube than Bing? Is Google Images more or less popular than Google News? What percent of queries are phrased as questions? How many words are in the average query? Is it more or less on mobile?

    These kinds of specifics help us know where to put our efforts, how to sell our managers, teams, and clients on SEO investments, and, when we have this data over time, we can truly understand how this industry that shapes our livelihoods is changing. Until now, this data has been somewhere between hard and impossible to estimate. But, thanks to clickstream data providers like Jumpshot (which helps power Moz's Keyword Explorer and many of our keyword-based metrics in Pro), we can get around Google's secrecy and see the data for ourselves!

    Over the last 6 months, Russ Jones and I have been working with Jumpshot's Randy Antin, who's been absolutely amazing — answering our questions late at night, digging in with his team to get the numbers, and patiently waiting while Russ runs fancy T-Distributions on large datasets to make sure our estimates are as accurate as possible. If you need clickstream data of any kind, I can't recommend them enough.

    If you're wondering, "Wait... I think I know what clickstream data is, but you should probably tell me, Rand, just so I know that you know," OK. :-) Clickstream monitoring means Jumpshot (and other companies like them — SimilarWeb, Clickstre.am, etc.) have software on the device that records all the pages visited in a browser session. They anonymize and aggregate this data (don't worry, your searches and visits are not tied to you or to your device), then make parts of it available for research or use in products or through APIs. They're not crawling Google or any other sites, but rather seeing the precise behavior of devices as people use them to surf or search the Internet.

    Clickstream data is awesomely powerful, but when it comes to estimating searcher behavior, we need scale. Thankfully, Jumpshot can deliver here, too. Their US panel of Internet users is in the millions (they don't disclose exact size, but it's between 2–10) so we can trust these numbers to reliably paint a representative picture. That said, there may still be biases in the data — it could be that certain demographics of Internet users are more or less likely to be in Jumpshot's panel, their mobile data is limited to Android (no iOS), and we know that some alternative kinds of searches aren't captured by their methodology**. Still, there's amazing stuff here, and it's vastly more than we've been able to get any other way, so let's dive in.

    Methodology: All of the data was collected from Jumpshot's multi-million user panel in October 2016. T-distribution scaling was applied to validate the estimates of overall searches across platforms. All other data is expressed as percentages. Jumpshot's panel includes mobile and desktop devices in similar proportions, though no devices are iOS, so users on Macs, iPhones, and iPads are not included.

    ...

    #3: What percent of users perform one or more searches on a given day?

    Of the millions of active, US web users Jumpshot monitored in October 2016, only 15% performed at least one or more searches in a day. 45% performed at least one query in a week, and 68% performed one or more queries that month.

    ...

    #5: What percent of clicks on Google search results go to AdWords/paid listings?

    Of distinct search queries in Google, only 3.4% resulted in a click on an AdWords ad. If we expand that to all search queries, the number drops to 2.6%.

    ...

    #6: What percent of clicks on Google search results go to Maps/local listings?

    This is not measuring searches and clicks that start directly from maps.google.com or from the Google Maps app on a mobile device. We're talking here only about Google.com searches that result in a click on Google Maps. That number is 0.9% of Google search clicks, just under 1 in 100.

    ...


    #7: What percent of clicks on Google search results go to links in the Knowledge Graph?

    Knowledge panels are hugely popular in Google's results — they show up in ~38% of MozCast's dataset. But they're not nearly as popular for search click activity, earning only ~0.5% of clicks.

    ...

    #11: What percent of clicks on Google search results go to YouTube?

    ...

    YouTube's engagement massively over-performed its raw visibility, drawing 1.8% of all search clicks.

    ...

    #13: What percent of clicks on Google search results go to Google Shopping results?

    ...

    Clickstream data shows those results earning 0.55% of all search clicks.

    ...

    #14: What percent of Google searches result in a click on a Google property?

    ...

    All Google properties earned only 11.8% of clicks from distinct searches (only 8.4% across all searches). That's still significant, of course, and certainly bigger than it was 5 years ago, but given that we know Google's search volume has more than doubled in the last 5 years, we have to be intellectually honest and say that there's vastly more opportunity in the crowded-with-Google's-own-properties results today than there was in the cleaner-but-lower-demand SERPs of 5 years ago.

    ...


    #21: What percent of Google queries lead to more than one click on the results?

    ...

    Taken together, all the search behaviors that result in more than one click following a single search query in a session combine for 21%. That's 21% of searches that lead to more than one click on Google's results.

    ...

    https://moz.com/blog/state-of-search...avior-revealed
    Última edição por 5ms; 17-09-2017 às 12:48.

  10. #10
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    DC eyes tighter regulations on Facebook and Google as concern grows

    There are no rules for online ads.

    Ben Jacobs
    17 September 2017

    Every time a television station sells a political ad, a record is entered into a public file saying who bought the advertisement and how much money they spent.

    In contrast, when Facebook or Google sells a political ad, there is no public record of that sale. That situation is of growing concern to politicians and legislators in Washington as digital advertising becomes an increasingly central part of American political campaigns. During the 2016 election, over $1.4bn was spent in online advertising, which represented a 789 percent increase over the 2012 election.

    Online advertising is expected to become even more important in the 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential election. However, while regulations governing television, radio and print ads are long established, there is little oversight in place for digital political ads. Broadcast television and radio stations are legally mandated to record who bought political ads and how muchthey spent. But online, political ad buyers are under no such obligations – and so the public are flying blind. The result is a landscape that one operative compared to “the wild west.”

    ...

    Although some on the left have long raised concerns about the lack of competition for companies like Google and Amazon, the Trump administration has ushered in a new group of right-wing officials who are skepticalof these companies. Former White House aide Steve Bannon argued in favor of regulating Facebook and Google as public utilities, and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gave a pointedly muted response after Google received a record fine from the European Union. “I don’t have anything for us to wade in on a private company,” she said in June.

    This has been joined on the left by increasingly vocal comments by prominent progressives like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who warned in a speech last year that major digital companies like Google and Amazon were “trying to snuff out competition.” This gained more attention in August when the liberal New American Foundation fired a scholar who had argued Google was a monopoly. The company, whose CEO Eric Schmidt was a prominent Clinton supporter, had donated heavily to the nonprofit.

    This scrutiny is starting to extend to the role of online advertising in American politics. The FEC has reopened a comment period on its rule on disclaimers for online political advertising. However, it’s unclear whether this will lead to any change in its rules, which currently grant most online advertising an exception from regulations that require disclaimers, the small print stating who paid for a particular ad, on “electioneering communications.”

    Oren Shur, the former director of paid media on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign told the Guardian, “you have everyone under the sun buying political ads online now. It’s where everything is least transparent.”

    As a Democratic digital operative noted to the Guardian, “all advertising on television and radio can be linked back to an FEC filing report. Fundamentally the press and the public can understand who is buying advertising for the purposes of the election, at a basic level you ... can see who is spending what to influence an election and that’s just not true with Google, YouTube Facebook and Twitter.”

    Facebook and Google now make up roughly 70-75% of political digital advertising sales, but the key question is whether there is any way to effectively implement a method of disclosure that makes transparency a reality. Jason Rosenbaum, the former digital director for the Clinton campaign, suggested these companies adopt a voluntary system of disclosure. He noted that cable companies, which are not expressly regulated by the FCC had long done this. Rosenbaum noted that legislative and regulatory solutions both face significant political obstacles and that it was hard to envision a technological way to track advertisements.

    Instead, he thought a voluntary option would not only benefit the public but be good for platforms as it would enable them to sell more advertising which he noted is “what these companies do.” If a campaign knows a rival has bought advertising on an online platform, it is more likely to respond in kind and attempt to match the buy.

    In the meantime, without a solution, skeptics of major tech platforms havewarned of the consequences.

    Luther Lowe, vice president for public policy at Yelp and a vocal critic of Google, told the Guardian, “This is not standard monopoly abuse.” Lowe added, “When a dominant information firm abuses its monopoly, you get the same negative effects of reduced choice and higher prices as in other monopolies, but democracy and free speech are also undermined because these firms now control how information is accessed and how it flows.”

    As Lowe noted, the concerns over the dominant role of Google and Facebook are not limited to the realm of political advertising. In the past week, Yelp filed an anti-trust complaint against Google, alleging that it is wrongly scraping Yelp’s content, and Facebook has come under attack for allowing advertisers to target content to users interested in topics like “Jew Haters.” But the potential that a foreign government used any of these platforms to influence the 2016 election looms over all of the other topics.

    https://www.theguardian.com/technolo...-concern-grows
    Última edição por 5ms; 17-09-2017 às 13:31.

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