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Both Sides Claim a Victory in the FTC Case Against Google

googleThe 19-month, FTC investigation into Google’s policies and practices has come to an end and both parties are declaring themselves the winner.

Here’s the announcement from the Official Google Blog:

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission today announced it has closed its investigation into Google after an exhaustive 19-month review that covered millions of pages of documents and involved many hours of testimony. The conclusion is clear: Google’s services are good for users and good for competition.

Here’s the FTC’s version:

Google Inc. has agreed to change some of its business practices to resolve Federal Trade Commission concerns that those practices could stifle competition in the markets for popular devices . . . as well as the market for online search advertising.

Twilight Couple and Katie Holmes Top Ask’s List of Most Asked Questions

Earlier this week we learned that Americans have an unnatural fascination for Kim Kardashian but they apparently don’t think about her in terms of a question because she didn’t make Ask.com’s most asked list.

Top question on the Ask list? Will Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart get back together?

The Twilight twosome weren’t the only celebrity couple to make the list. Folks also wanted to know if Katie Holmes’ marriage to Tom Cruise was fake, and they wanted to know when Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake were getting married.

Other personal questions included, “why did Miley Cyrus cut her hair” and “does Ryan Lochte have a girlfriend.” And many people wanted to know, what exactly is Gangnam Style?

Google To Print: My Ad Dollars Can Beat Your Ad Dollars Anytime!

Let’s call this one a graphical depiction of how the ad business has changed in the last ten years. The graph comes from Statista by way of Cnet and here it is:

According to this chart, Google finally pulled ahead of print advertising in dollars spent. Not surprising, given the state of the newspaper and magazine business, but wait. . . there are a few points to consider.

Earlier today, my son reminded me that numbers can be manipulate to prove almost anything. We were discussing time expansion as it relates to creation, (yes, really) but the point applies here as well. Statista states right off the bat that this isn’t a completely fair comparison. Google’s numbers are worldwide, while the print numbers are US only. If you included international print, I’d guess that the scale would tip in print’s favor.

5 Ways To Capitalize on TV in SEM Campaigns

Recently Google quietly changed the geo footprints formerly called “metros” into Nielsen® DMA® regions. This means that these metros are 100% aligned with television advertising footprints.

This change got me thinking about the interaction between TV advertising and SEM and its increasing significance as more and more people watch TV with a device in hand.

For large brands that actually do national TV advertising, the lift to SEM (particularly on brand) driven by TV adverts is clear and easy to read. However, even if you don’t have the budget or resources to run TV ads, there are still ways that TV affects your SEM account. Here are some ways for you to capitalize:

Ad Spending on Digital Shows Q4 Decline

The good news is, total advertising expenditures rose in 2011. The bad news is that the rise was only 0.8% and the internet didn’t make out all that well.

The numbers come from Kantar Media’s final 2011 report and it could be worse, right?

Looking at the Internet section, you can see that Q4 was a tough sell. Display still did okay for the year but paid search is down 2.8% over last year. Newspapers and magazines continued to take the hit in Q4 and in spite of a boost from their Spanish language options, ended the year down compared to 2010.

Ad Spending by Category

Automotive folks continue to be the biggest spenders with Retail coming in second. Insurance had the largest growth rate with Food and Candy and Telcom the only losers for the year.

Paid Search Dollars Decline, While Display is On the Rise

Earlier this year, Kantar Media said they were cautiously optimistic about the future of the ad dollar. Now, they say that optimism has been replaced “by the statistical evidence of progressively slowing growth rates.”

Jon Swallen, SVP Research at Kantar Media North America lays it out for you,

“From +4.1 percent in the first quarter, to +2.8 percent in the second quarter and now a barely palpable +0.4 percent for the July to September period. During Q3, an expanding number of the largest marketers became even more conservative with their ad budgets and these reductions have neutralized the healthy spending growth occurring among mid-sized advertisers.”

Aw, that’s not good, is it?

Looking strictly at internet ad spending, it was a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul

Mobile Paid Search Offers Bigger Bang for the Buck

Now that more people are using their mobile devices to search and shop, more advertisers are paying for mobile ads — it’s the circle of life and it’s working out well for everyone involved.

New numbers from Performics show that smartphone CPCs are still a real bargain, coming in at around 40% less than desktop CPCs. The one mobile exception is the tablet, which, last week, rose 20% over desktop CPCs.

When compared to last year, mobile impressions and click shares are both way up. Says Performics:

“We now predict that mobile paid search will make up 25.4% of all clicks (desktop + mobile) in December 2011, up 8 percentage points from our projection a month ago.”

For those visual learners in the bunch, here’s a graph that tells it like it is.