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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Visionary Joins the SearchBlogO'Sphere; A New Keyword Tool Joins the Fray

All I can say is: great post Chris Zaharias! on the implications of Yahoo! potentially factoring CTR into their ad ranking formula in 2006.

It's not every day a visionary joins us in the SearchBlogO'Sphere. OK, maybe visionary is the wrong word, given Chris' history as described by him. But I'd rather try to look ahead one year than three, since in this business the latter is nearly impossible.

In other (not unrelated) news, sitting next to Kevin Lee at ad:tech is a useful exercise. He was playing with the new keyword tool available to those who are early MSN AdCenter clients. Whoa! Some of the features are a bit better than Google's, Yahoo's, or the available third-party tools. Real life data for any given searchphrase is available. I liked the monthly "trend report." You could be looking for "delta dentists" and seeing how many searches there were day to day - typically, there were notable weekend troughs in search volume (apparently people have a life, backing off their search usage on weekends even when it comes to searching for non-work stuff). Of course, you could always get this data more or less by actually running an AdWords account and tracking impressions, but the MSN group have added a couple of easy-to-use reports that make it cool. Moreover, MSN's keyword tool gives you fun demographic breakdowns. For those users for whom this info is available (through Hotmail mostly, I'm assuming), MSN Adcenter gives you a pie chart for the age groups (for example) searching for this keyphrase, and one for the leading city locations from which such searches are initiated. ("Delta Dentists" is most searched for in Los Angeles.) Not bad for 6% search market share. :)

Notwithstanding great efforts by Miva, Kanoodle, Enhance, Quigo, and other second-tier players, this three-way competition amongst three paid search heavyweights bodes well for advertisers -- better than the two-way competition we've seen thus far, which has tended to produce a mix of innovation and obtuseness.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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