Yahoo’s Search Assist There When you Need It

Search Engine Land takes a close look at Yahoo’s new Yahoo Search Assist tool. Unlike normal search suggestion tools, Search Assist predicts when you might need a little help with your search and then shows up.

As Danny Sullivan explains…

Ever had one of those moments when you start to type in a query, enter a word and then pause because you’re not quite sure what other words to add to it? Search Assist senses this. It notes that you’ve paused, takes that as a sign you need help and magically makes suggestions appear below the search box. Cool!

In addition, you don’t just get suggestions that contain some of the letters you initially type. Search Assist goes beyond the original word to suggest related topics.

Are we Getting Microsoft Works for Free or Not?

It seems Microsoft’s not quite sure whether they do truly wish to give away Microsoft Works 9.0 for free or not. First reports suggested that Satya Nadella, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Search & Advertising Platform Group, told Mary Jo Foley that an ad-supported version of Microsoft’s stripped down version of Office would be available soon.

Nadella added that Works will be just “the first of the ad-funded software we are going to do.” When I asked for other examples of products might decide to make free and ad-funded, he mentioned Office Accounting Express – a product which is currently available as both a free download and as a component of certain Office Live paid subscriptions. He also said software downloads/shareware was another category ripe with products that could be free and ad-funded.

Google Adds Campaign Optimizer to AdWords

Inside AdWords has announced the launch of Google AdWords new ad performance tool – Campaign Optimizer.

The new tool is designed to look for weaknesses in your campaign and suggest ways to boost performance.

Here’s where you can run it…

How does it work?

…first, the tool analyzes your campaign to see what settings have or haven’t worked well for you recently — this process typically takes a minute or less. Next, it generates a customized proposal of ideas for your campaign aimed at improving your performance. Finally, you’ll be able to review each proposed change and apply the ones you like directly to your campaign.

Take a look at all of the lovely benefits Google lists, and see if you notice something of interest…

What the iCrossing Acquisition of Proxicom Says About the State of the SEM Industry

Today iCrossing, possibly the largest SEM firm, announced its acquisition of web development firm Proxicom. The acquisition came on the heels of an announcement last week by iCrossing that it had received $62 million in funding from Goldman Sachs and three venture capital firms. This acquisition is just the latest in a string of purchases by iCrossing this year and last, including: ewGate Internet, a paid-search firm in San Francisco; Spannerworks, a search and social-media agency in the United Kingdom; and Sharp Analytics, a marketing technology firm in Salt Lake City.

iCrossing’s acquisition of Proxicom is a watershed moment in the SEM industry. To date, most SEM firms have been acquired by marketing services or web agencies, but this is the first case where a major SEM firm acquired a major web development firm. Why is that important?

Understanding how relevance affects PPC

MarketingExperiments.com has just published a new research brief that discusses how the relevance of the ad displayed impacts the click through rate and conversion rate.

In two case studies, Marketing Experiments showed important the ad text is to both the click through rate and conversion rate. In one study that tested ads for Encyclopedia Brittannica, ad titles that contained both “Encylopedia” and “Brittannica” converted 2.5 times better than ad titles that contained only “Brittannica. ” It is important to understand that 90% of the tested traffic saw the ads after searching for a phrase that contained both terms.

This study quantified something that any sophisticated PPC advertiser probably already knows–you should try to match your ad titles as closely as possible to the search terms that you are buying. Be as specific as you can, using brand names if possible.

Google Analytics Down?

If you’ve not seen updated reports from Google Analytics since sometime on Saturday, please leave a comment. A few people are reporting the same and I’ve dropped an email to the GA team to see what’s up.

Please leave a comment if you’re seeing the same.

Thanks!

UPDATE: Here’s the explanation from Google

There is a temporary reporting delay within Google Analytics accounts. For most accounts, reporting is current through this past Saturday night. Please note that no data will be lost – data will continue to be collected and processed during this time.

We are in the process of fully updating your Google Analytics account data and will display it within your reports as soon as possible. Please note, you are still able to log in to your accounts and access all the data through Saturday. We will update this blog when reporting is fully restored.

Pilgrim’s Picks for July 30

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