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CNET Rates Search Engine on Privacy

Google got an F on privacy from Privacy International earlier this summer. Their DoubleClick deal got scrutiny from the FTC for privacy issues. But are they really doing worse than other search engines in the privacy area?

CNET interviewed search engine reps to ensure that they compared apples to apples when looking at privacy policies at search engines. It’s good to see a more objective comparison of search engines’ privacy efforts than we’ve seen recently. Their conclusion: Ask.com is far ahead of the four other major engines in the privacy arena.

For the other engines, CNET offers backhanded praise for Google’s anonymization of user data, but applauded their avoidance of behavioral targeting. MSN, Yahoo and AOL all have mixed results: better anonymization than Google, but worse in using behavioral targeting.

When OK Is Good Enough

Last week, a new Harris Poll indicated that Americans feel that search engines are doing a good job at serving consumers. Search engines ranked second, falling just behind grocery stores. Search engines outranked hospitals, banks, electric and gas utilities and telephone companies.

What this tells me is what I’ve long suspected is true of the search engines — OK is apparently good enough.

Online Ad Spending to Pass US Newspapers by 2011

There’s a new report out today that suggests online advertising spend will overtake US newspaper advertising by the year 2011, according to FT.com.

The findings are from a widely-watched annual research report on the media sector by Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS).

In the 2007 study, published on Tuesday, VSS forecasts that online advertising will grow by more than 21 per cent per year to reach $62bn in 2011, making it bigger than newspaper advertising, which is expected to total $60bn in 2011.

Broadcast television and cable and satellite television combined will continue to take the biggest share of advertising dollars, and are forecast to reach $86bn in 2011.

Makes you wonder if Google’s expansion into print advertising is a smart move or not.

Whadya think?

There’s a Use for Display Ads, After All!

Who knew display ads might actually be useful? A new study from Yahoo and comScore finds that online display ads produced 11% lift in dollars spent in in-store conversions. Search ads yielded a 26% lift in dollars spent.

Most impressive, however, was the result from a combination of search and online display ads: a 83% lift in dollars spent in later in-store conversion. The combination also increased incremental in-store revenue 90% (as opposed to 43% with search-only ads and 15% with display-only).

Display ads were also found to increase page views 37%—comparable to search ads’ effect (46%). Together? 68%.

Finally, MediaPost reports:

The study also found that a joint display and search campaign was more effective at converting online researchers to in-store purchasers–as the combination pushed 43% more in-store purchases than search (26%), or display (6%) alone.

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.

98% of Journalists Use the Web for Research

DMNews has details of a new study from Middleberg/Ross entitled ? The Seventh Annual Middleberg / Ross Survey of Media in the Wired World: Journalists Use of Internet at All-Time High.? – just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? ;-)

It’s not too surprising that 98% of journalists use the web daily as part of their search for news – the other 2% still don’t believe this internet thing will ever catch-on.

Here’s what else the study revealed about journalists:

  • 92% use the web for article research
  • 81% are using search engines
  • 76% use the web to find news sources and experts for stories – ooh, pick me, pick me!
  • 73% of journalists use the web to find press releases – wait, why are we using newswires then?
  • 81% of print journalists find ideas on the web

Online Videos Go Viral as Study Shows 57% Share their Favorites

If you have plans for any kind of viral marketing campaign in 2007, you may wish to take a look at the numbers revealed by a new Pew study.

57% of internet users watch video online and of that number 57% send their favorite videos on to their friends. They must be sending them to more than one person, judging by the 75% that said they receive videos from others. If your video appeals to the 18-29 age group, you can expect that video sharing rate to jump to 67%.

But before you grab your video camera and round up the staff, you may want to consider some investment into video production. 62% of online video watchers prefer content that is “professionally produced” and only 19% prefer videos “produced by amateurs.” Can’t be bothered to hire a production crew? Target the male 18-29 demo – only 43% of them prefer professional video.