When you look at the Google menu bar you will see things such as Shopping, Images, News, Recipes, etc. Each of those items is considered a vertical search engine, which is a search engine that focuses on a specific segment of content or topic on the Web.
Each vertical brings in revenue for Google. Earlier this year Google announced it was moving its free product-search to a paid one. Online retailers would bid to display products on Google’s Shopping site that they once received for free. Google felt a move like this would “empower businesses of all sizes to compete effectively.” But we know this move was done just to increase their revenue.
With this new pay-to-play model it is becoming apparent who among the menu bar will be bringing in the big bucks for Google. A recent study shows that this new model outperforms text ads in click-through rates by 47% and conversion rates by 38%. That provides a return-on-ad-spend of 25%. Can we say significant outperformance?
What are the advantages of Vertical Search? First, as big brother as this can possibly sound, the easiness in determining the intent of the user. If you were to click “Shopping” in Google, it means either your intention is to buy a product or to research a purchase of a product. Then factor in all the ways the search can be refined – your location, your past search history, your Google+ account and anything else Google has gathered on you – your search is refined and user intent is determined in order to present the most ideal information the user is seeking.
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The deadline for merchants to comply with new pay-to-play was just a few weeks ago (October 17). Google might say it evens out the playing field however we and all the e-retailers concerned want to see how this opportunity affects their business.
With the holidays (quickly) approaching, online merchants (or e-tailers) should keep a watchful eye on their paid search campaigns and their ad spends. Their PPC manager might need to become their best friend.