Five of the most interesting SEM news stories of the week


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Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from around the world of search marketing and beyond.

This week we have loads of paid search stats and research and news on the latest madcap tinkering by Google.

Paid search: John Lewis and Amazon spend the most on UK home décor

They must have lovely homes. If you can get round all the boxes and fork-lifts.

AdGooroo has published data on paid search advertising for the home décor category in the United Kingdom, examining 500 top, non-branded home décor keywords on Google between January 2015-January 2016.

Here are the stats:

  • 4,892 advertisers spent £45.5 million during the period.
  • Department store chain John Lewis led all advertisers with £920,000 spent, followed by Argos (£884,000) and Amazon (£867,000)
  • Amazon led all advertisers in clicks with 2 million during the period, just edging out John Lewis’s 1.99 million clicks
  • An average of 93 advertisers sponsored each of the top 20 keywords and 83 advertisers sponsored each of the 500 home décor keywords studied


Summer vacation/Mother’s Day search stats from Yahoo

The last time I mentioned Mother’s Day coming soon, it brought about a panic on one side of the Atlantic. And now it’s time to do the same for the other side…

  • Mother’s Day is coming soon! And to celebrate Yahoo has released a report on consumer search insights revealing important trends about Mother’s Day shopping and summer travel plans. Let’s hope they also ordered some nice flowers too.
  • 1 in 6 shoppers plan to spend more money on this year’s gift, and they are open to trying new brands in order to find the perfect gift.
  • 52% of shoppers surveyed said that they will likely compare prices from multiple retailers on the same products before making a purchase.
  • DIY presents are becoming more popular. More than 15 million searches about Mother’s Day showed that consumers search search for “images,” “quotes,” “poems,” “cards,” and other creative ideas.
  • Online advertising was the top source for influencing family vacations and online ads are more influential than TV ads. When asked what motivated their travel decisions, more than 50% of family travellers said that online ads influenced them, while only 28% cited TV ads.
  • The most commonly used phrases searched in conjunction with summer vacation were beach, lake, park, island, and water. Specific destinations that were commonly searched include Colorado, France, Alaska, Maine, and Tahoe.
  • So far this year, the highest concentration of people searching “summer vacation” on Yahoo came from Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

50% of adults are unable to recognise ads in Google search results

As Graham Charlton reported this week, according to Ofcom half of all search engine using adults do not recognise ads.

For the study, the respondents were shown a picture of the SERPs for ‘walking boots’ (please note this study took place in 2015)…

walking boots

The 1,328 survey respondents then had to select the results they thought were ‘paid for’. 60% identified them as paid links, while 49% identified them only as paid ads

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Ofcom also split the results out between newer and more established internet user and found that newer users were less likely to identify that the results with the yellow ad label were indeed paid results.

Google paid search positions #1 and #4 may lead to the highest CTR

As reported in MediaPost this week, Adobe has discovered that the cost per click for paid search ads served in the fourth position may produce the best outcome, with low cost-per-clicks but high click-through-rates.

CPCs rose slightly for the first and second paid search positions (6% and 7% up respectively) but fell for third and fourth (10% and 8%).

CTRs rose for all except the second position. First position was up 13%. Third: 2% and fourth: 18%.

So… how you going to optimise PPC ads for fourth position? Bearing in mind Google doesn’t always show a fourth paid search ad. Well I’ll leave you to that quandary and go put the kettle on.

Google’s In-Depth Articles disappeared, and are now back again

You may not have been aware of this but there’s an in-depth articles feature in Google that helps you surface longer more evergreen articles.

in-depth articles

Well there was until a couple of weeks ago when it mysteriously vanished, leading to much speculation as to whether it had been axed or not.

Only that’s all for nothing now, as it’s suddenly back again. Leading to new speculation that the whole thing was just a bug/glitch/mistake.

Now although this reads as a total non-event, your takeaway from this should be NEVER EVER take anything in search for granted, because Google will not only manually change an algorithm on purpose but occasionally lean on a keyboard and delete something vital by accident.

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