Google Instant – What's it mean for PPC Advertisers?

Google rolled out its new “Google Instant” search this week and it’s got the the online world buzzing. The main chatter is about what it means for PPC (pay-per-click) or AdWords advertisers… but before we dive into that, what is Google Instant anyway?

We’re all familiar with search engines guessing what we’re searching for as we type in our search queries… start typing phila and you’ll have philadelphia in there in no time – along with popular recent search terms beginning with philadelphia! Whether you search directly in your browser’s toolbar or if you go to a search site like Google, Yahoo, or Bing, you’ve likely already experienced the drop down list of search term choices the search engine shows you based on what you’ve typed. It’s usually pretty handy!

How does the Instant service differ from this search term completion/suggestion function? It starts to populate the search screen with results even as you’re still typing, whereas the old way waited until you’d chosen your term and clicked search/pressed enter. Seems like a minor change, right?

For the end user, it probably is. Google claims that this new service saves 2 to 5 seconds off of a typical search, which they estimates takes an average of 25 seconds to execute. But, for AdWords advertisers, it raises a whole lot of new questions…

  1. How will the Instant service impact keyword diversity? If the autofill function is pre-selecting options, how will this impact Search Engine Optimization and choice of keywords?
  2. Will long tail keywords become less relevant as this technology builds more and more of our searches?
  3. How will this technology impact impressions rates in AdWords campaigns?
  4. Will we need to rethink our benchmarks for impressions vs. clickthroughs for PPC ads?
  5. How will PPC and AdWords strategies need to be adjusted to maximize return with this new search dynamic?

Lots of questions… stay tuned in the coming weeks and months as we work with our clients to figure out the answers and create effective strategies to work with this new search dynamic!

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