Does Google's 'Sitelinks' Feature Improve Or Hurt Conversion Rates?

Nate Elliott

I don't know about you, but I like the 'extended' search results I sometimes see on Google. I mean the ones where Google, instead of just offering a single link for the top search result, provides you with several deep links into a site. It makes navigation faster, and that's a good thing.

Those extra links almost always show up in organic results, so you may not have known that marketers can actually buy this feature in their paid listings as well. Google calls them 'AdWords Ad Sitelinks.' But -- I'm starting to wonder how well these actually work for marketers. I noticed today that in Google's case study about how Nationwide Insurance used Sitelinks [pdf], Google says the clickthrough rate went up 73% but conversions only rose 60%. The case study isn't clear on whether that's conversions per click or overall conversions -- but it certainly sounds like overall conversions. In which case, the clicks Nationwide got from Sitelinks actually converted at a lower rate than the clicks they got from traditional paid listings.

Now, this is just one example -- and as I said, it's based on my reading of the case study. But if Sitelinks really did drive conversion rates down rather than up, surely that'd be a concern.

I'm curious -- have you used Sitelinks? If so, what did you think of the program's performance -- especially the conversion rates? Let us know in the comments below.

Crowd Factory Launches New Social Campaign Product

Melissa Parrish

Crowd Factory announced today a new product for marketers: CrowdWorks Social Campaign -- which it describes as a way for marketers “to acquire new customers through simple social sharing and custom social marketing campaigns while easily tracking ROI.”

The key word there is simple.  What Social Campaign offers marketers is not complex end-to-end community/social/conversational/engagement marketing functionality and services.  It’s a curated set of light social applications (like sharing and ratings) -- which it refers to as social gestures -- that marketers can use to impact the business goals they’ve already established for their campaigns.

The interface is as simple as the feature set too, which may be a welcome change of pace for marketers who are used to requesting design and coding work from already tapped development resources.  Crowd Factory says it takes 10 minutes, and no technical skills, to customize and deploy a social gesture, and having seen the dashboard, I can believe it.  Of course, that 10-minute time-to-launch comes only after the platform has been approved by whatever internal departments need to sign off on technology platforms, but once that step is completed, the dashboard is in fact a platform that can be used over and over to customize and deploy new social gestures without additional help from tech resources.

Read more

Now Accepting Entries For The 2010 Forrester Groundswell Awards

Christine Overby

[Originally published by Josh Bernoff on the Groundswell blog.]

We first started the Forrester Groundswell awards in 2007. What a great run! We've seen applications like the one that the amazing Pete Williams used to raise a million dollars for recovery from Australian brush fires and the one that remade the rules for NASCAR. And for the people who created these award-winning applications, the awards have given them the recognition that helps them justify the great work they do.

This year, we're expanding them to match up to the expanding role that social applications play in business. It also means you have more ways to win.

We've got:

Read more

Announcing The Forrester International Groundswell Awards

Nate Elliott

I'm thrilled to announce that this year Forrester will present the first-ever Forrester International Groundswell Awards! The Forrester Groundswell Awards are our effort to recognize not just the best ideas in social media marketing, but the programs that have proven the most effective at generating results for marketers. In the past we've run a single set of awards for all business-to-consumer marketers, no matter where in the world they were based -- and we've always been excited to see and reward great social media programs from outside the US. This year, with companies around the world ramping up their use of social media marketing -- and with many of them doing outstanding work -- we decided it was time to create a special category for non-North American marketers.

If you've run a great consumer-focused social media marketing program in the past year -- and if your program didn't specifically target the US or Canada -- then we'd love to see your entry for the Forrester International Groundswell Awards. The entry deadline is August 27, 2010 (get your entries in early so you can generate audience votes!) and we'll present the awards at our EMEA Marketing and Strategy Forum in London on November 18, 2010. Be sure to check out Josh's post for full details and rules. I'm looking forward to seeing your submissions!

What's The Future Of Application Stores?

Thomas Husson

At the beginning of this year, we stated that application stores would continue to flourish, but none would replicate Apple's success in 2010. So far, it has been quite easy not to be proven wrong on this one. Android Market and, to a lesser extent, RIM's BlackBerry App World are growing fast in the US, while Nokia's OVI is performing quite well in some regions. Windows Marketplace is likely to benefit from end-of-year Windows 7 sales, while Samsung Apps are not yet really marketed, not to mention LG's efforts. The Wholesale Applications Community (the operators' alliance) has not yet launched. Global operators have yet to significantly launch their own multiplatform stores. Both approaches (the vertically integrated from handset manufacturers/OS players and the horizontal layer added by operators) are likely to continue to expand this year, making it even more complex for brands and companies launching their own applications. Many of them are starting to realize that there is a world outside of Apple's iPhone and that their app will be lost in a back catalog of more than 200,000 apps if they don't market it. They are starting to wonder how to break the Apple App Store ranking algorithm, how much to invest in the life cycle of their application, and which stores they should target to distribute their products and services. I see a couple of key issues that need to be tackled to seriously address this market opportunity:

Read more

Nice To Meet You!

Melissa Parrish

As you might have read, the Interactive Marketing analyst team has been growing. What you might not know yet is that I’m one of the new recruits.

I’m one of those practitioners who’s been working with social media since before we called it that — early on at Bolt.com and most recently at Time Inc. Check out my profile for more details about me.

I imagine it’ll come as no surprise that social media is one of my coverage areas. I’ll be looking at the operational, tactical side of social media — especially topics related to community management. Speaking of which, my first piece of writing as an analyst was published in this month’s issue of CRM Magazine. If you have a chance to read it, I hope you’ll come back here and share your feedback.

In addition to social media, I’ll be tackling some emerging topics for interactive marketers, like e-readers and other mobile devices. My early research agenda is sketched out and my first document, a checklist to prepare for community management, will be published in the next few weeks. Following that, I’ll be working on the Community Platforms Forrester Wave, but if there are particular questions you have about any of my coverage areas, or specific pieces of research that would be of interest or help to you, please add a comment and let me know.

Read more

Google's Economic Impact Report: Just A PR Ploy?

Shar VanBoskirk

Today Google announced that it had generated $54 billion worth of economic activity in the US in 2009. The report, which shows state by state economic contribution, bases Google's total value on three factors: 1) Sales driven through AdSense and AdWords; 2) Ad revenue generated for publishers through AdSense; and 3) Google grants. As a research analyst, I'll admit that you can make numbers tell any story you want to, and my gut here is that this report is principally a PR effort to: 1) Communicate some altruism about the Google brand that has been getting some bad press of late; 2) Simplify the complex transformation Google has brought to advertising into a simple, single number; 3) Shift the focus away from questionable strategic decisions that Google has recently made. I wholeheartedly believe that Google has transformed advertising and is almost singularly responsible for the phenomenon of biddable media buying which I think will ultimately replace relationship-facilitated media buys across channels. But I don't believe that Google stimulated $54 billion worth of business. I think what Google did do is provide a new revenue stream to small businesses and site owners, catalyze some new sales, and take a share of commerce and media expenditures that would have happened anyway.

Join Forrester’s New Online Community For Interactive Marketers

Christine Overby

Hot on the heels of our new blog platform, Forrester has launched an online community for interactive marketers focused on the key business challenges that interactive marketers face every day. The community is a place for interactive marketers to exchange ideas, opinions, and real-world solutions with each other. Forrester analysts will also be part of the community, helping facilitate the discussions and sharing their views.

The community is open to all interactive marketers, whether you’re a Forrester client or not.

Here’s what you’ll find:

  • A simple platform on which you can pose your questions and get advice from peers who face the same business challenges.
  • Insight from our analysts, who weigh in frequently on the issues. 
  • Fresh perspective from peers, who share their real-world success stories and best practices.
  • Content on the latest technologies and trends affecting your business — from Forrester and other thought leaders.
     

I encourage you to become part of the community:

  • Ask a question about a complex business problem.
  • Start a discussion on an emerging trend that’s having an impact on your work.
  • Contribute to an existing discussion thread from a community member.
  • Suggest topics for upcoming Forrester research reports.
  • Create a community profile.
  • Share your perspective with others.
     

Click here to go to Forrester’s Online Community For Interactive Marketing Professionals and bookmark it for easy reference. See you in the community.

Forrester’s European Online Ad Forecast: Rich Formats Will Push Display Ad Spending Higher While Search Growth Will Slow

Nate Elliott

One of the first tasks I settled on when I returned to Europe this year was to update our online ad forecast. After months of research, I’ve just published that report, ‘Western European Online Advertising Forecast Through 2014’ – and I’m happy to say that overall, the picture that’s developed is one of an industry returning to health. 2009 wasn’t a great year for the market, but thanks to a strong fourth quarter it wasn’t the terrible year everyone was expecting either – and more importantly, it looks like the weakness was a short-term blip rather than the beginning of a prolonged market slide. Western European online ad spending – which we define as the total of display ad spending and search spending in 17 countries – totalled €9.6 billion in 2009, and will grow to €13.9 billion in 2014.

When you dig a bit deeper, however, it becomes clear that different sectors of the market will have differing fortunes over the next five years. We think the big story between now and 2014 will be online display advertising. After a year of stagnation in 2009 – when it grew by just 1% across Western Europe – we think display is starting to look as healthy as ever. With huge advances in targeting helping response marketers deliver their ads to the right users, and with rich ad formats convincing brand marketers to shift more of their budget online, display will grow by 4% in 2010 and hit double-digit annual growth by 2013.

Read more

Categories:

How Forrester Defines Western Europe

Nate Elliott

Because I’ve just published a new Western European forecast – and because I often get asked how we define which geographies we cover – I thought I’d clarify what we mean by "Western Europe." As of May 2010, Forrester defines Western Europe as the following 17 countries (listed here alphabetically):

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • UK

 

Put another way, when we talk about Western Europe, we’re talking about the old EU-15 plus Switzerland and Norway.