Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Oreo seperator machine and post-TV content

"I didn't get to see my dog for hours. There were a lot of sacrifices."

It's not just the dead pan delivery of this that gets my attention but the fact the video comes from Oreo itself. This is what video marketing has become. Call it viral if you will. Call it post-TV and you might be more in-line with my thoughts. Content marketing? That too. Social? Yes, of course.

What we have here is another example of a brand cleverly working out how to target a particular audience and doing so even if that means stepping back on the chest thumping ads for the product.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Google automatically kills AVG Safe Search

I can't imagine that the guys at AVG will be over the moon with joy about this but Google's now automatically switching off the AVG Safe Search extension.

The Chrome extension plants little green ticks into the SERPs. The goal is to let you, the searcher, know that it's safe to click on any given result. Google's switched off the extension, while allowing you to override their decision and turn it back on, because it slows down the page load times.

Of course, Google works pretty hard to ensure that all its results are virus free in the first place. In fact, Chrome's a very good browser at keeping when it comes to keeping you safe and secure.

The between the lines message is clear - Google doesn't seem to think you need AVG Safe Search.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

More than 60 insights and ideas from SES London, day 3

Day 3 is a shorter day, being the last, on the SES London schedule. Today's "more than 60" count includes  my own presentation, which is a bit of cheat and therefore effective, but the bullet point format seems to be working.

I like the Google+ integration with Blogger. It feels right being able to tag speakers directly in posts. However, I've two Google+ profiles; one associated with an old work email address that's just there to admin Pages and my real profile. This is a confusion. I've not liked  it when speakers have had more than one G+ profile so I'll investigate how I can delete one of mine (and see what happens to the Pages attached).

Optimising Humans! The Art of Data-Driven Social Marketing
From +Marty Weintraub

  • aimClear survey suggested many Community Managers do not engage in Outreach and Recruitment.
  • Map keywords to conversations and users - but the social platforms don't make this easy.
  • Hootsuite has a pretty good search functionality
  • Make use of Chrome's translation tool, RSS and Outlook alerts and you can have a better social media monitoring tool than those you pay for.
  • It costs more to serve  Page Post ads to your own fans than it does to non-fans, says Marty
  • Target your blog posts to reporters and journalists with paid Facebook ads
  • Targeting people on dislikes can be  as effective as targeting people on likes
  • Use Facebook's ad  builder to study your own Page fans.
  • Marty believes some  social targeting is at risk - laws and regulation will take  it away
  • Don't be a creep. Social makes it very easy for marketers to be a creep.

Living in a "Smart" World - How Mobile and Tablets and Shifting User Behaviour
From Mark Brill

  • Every second 8.1 Android devices are sold, 4.6 iOS  devices sold and 4.2 babies born.
  • 50% of people who engaged in mobile search looked for offers and deals
  • BestBuy have suffered from people comparing prices in-store with their mobile - now started price matching  on a list of approved retailers
  • In Tesco's F&F QR code test - people would pick up tablets to buy a product but  they didn't understand the QR code tickets and would tear them off to hand to shop assistants
  • 54% of Facebook users access from mobile (from IPO documents)
  • 92% of mobile YouTube users share clips with others (Ondevice Research, 2012)
  • Instagram is growing because people  find taking photographers easier than typing
  • 80% of brand apps are downloaded less than 1,000 times
  • Google say that 50% of all mobile searches have local intent

From Sri Sharma

  • Google saw that over 90% of tablet use was from the home (which was included in the justification of treating them like desktops and Enhanced Campaigns in AdWords)
  • Mobile data usage: up 3x year on year
  • Mobile searching is up: 130% year in year
  • Search advertising is up 205% year on year
  • Display advertising up 95% year on year
  • Mobile sites still <50%
  • Skin clinics, with a poor mobile site, blocked mobile access and drove click to call instead: leads increased x26 and conversion rate x2.2.
  • Papa Johns lives in a world where discounts rule but damage the profits of franchises so used mobile to communicate with people when price/discount wasn't the primary consideration; when they were hungry.
  • Express relevancy  to improve traffic and conversion rates (Singapore Airlines saw +20% CTR)
  • Drive brand awareness cost effectively using mobile generics (much cheaper on mobile; can then boost brand search)
  • Develop your own best practice for Enhanced Campaigns

The RTB Opportunity for Online Marketers: Truths & Myths

From +Dax Hamman 
  • RTB is a Search Marketer's bridge in to large Display budgets
  • Media has become auction based
  • There is an artificial high in using data in RTB - good creative and context still matter
  • By 2015 RTB will be 50% of all bought Display impressions (US centric data - which didn't know about Facebook's ad exchange)
  • There are lots of DSPs but perhaps only a dozen with true scale and reach
  • Progammatic marketing makes big data actionable
  • RTB on physical displays (billboards, taxi, etc) and radio are coming
  • VTA (view-through attribution) should be the way Display is measured, says Dax

From +Laurent Boninfante

  • 10% of the UK have Facebook pages for their pets (Telegraph stat)
  • Facebook on its own is bigger than all the other ad networks put together
  • 15% of people on Facebook see ad in the first 5 minutes
  • Truth: FBX  has the cheapest CPMs ever seen
  • Myth: FBX has high CTR
  • Myth: FBX has high conversion rates
  • It's really worth investing in segmentation on FBX

Using RTB to Drive Customer Acquisition & Revenue
From Martin Brown

  • RTB is re-engineering marketing but its not ripping up the rule book
  • We're moving from static data to dynamic data; the key is making data actionable
  • RTB shift for an online software vendor - 60% increase in sales & 36% reduction in costs
  • Technology can improve customer acquisition and engagement
  • Martin believes that anyone in digital marketing could use a DSP and this is partly due to ad exchanges growing beyond "remnant inventory" to premium. 

From +Andy Mihalop
  • MoneySupermarket use a large in-house team to keep their data and IP in-house (and away from agencies)
  • Experienced PPC managers will quickly feel at home with a  DSP
  • MoneySupermarket's business model relies on them being able to generate leads more cheaply than their banking and financial services clients; hence the interest in RTB
  • DMPs are essential; they're the technology that allows you to get your data correctly segmented
  • MoneySupermarket studied the 3rd party tags on their site that allowed their data to leak to ad networks.
  • Brand RTB Foundations: Biddable Media Optimisers (such  as  evolved PPC managers)  + Data (the big challenge; collecting data and populating the DMP) + Media Systems (DoubleClick, Abode or specialists) + Attribution
  • Brand RTB In-House team structure: Biddable Media Optimisers + Media Systems Team + Data Scientists + BTD Sales & Support (Brand Trading Desk)
  • MSM Brand Trading Desk provides exclusive access to customers for their financial partners (ie, an insurance partner can have exclusive access to an audience segment for a period of time on their own site and other sites). Traffic comes to MoneySuperMarket.
  • MSM use BlueKai for DMP, MediaMath for DSP and DoubleClick, OpenX, RightMedia for ad exchanges and Rubicon for SSP and ad serving. Finally, the use adometry for attribution and reporting.
  • MSM trading desk could serve a quote in an insurance ad based on what they know about the target customer
  • Data ownership is key, believes MoneySuperMarket, so have your own platform.
  • IT teams are not well positioned to support digital marketing and RTB technology
  • Speed matters
  • Use the specialists you have - for example, search specialists are very comfortable with data.

Local & Social: Maximising Visibility

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

More than 60 lessons and learnings from SES London, day 2

This is my little round-up of the second day, mid-way through, SES London. This format rather favours presentations that deliver lots of little chunks of information but it does allow me to cover the whole search (and social, they say) conference in a single post.

I rather like the Google+ integration but please be aware that some profiles are not always up to date.

The keynote speaker today changed from Dara Nasr to Oliver Snoddy due to illness.

Maximising Realtime Marketing Opportunities
From +Oliver Snoddy

  • There are 1 billion Tweets every 2.5 days.
  • First tweet from the London helicopter crashn came in at 8.03 AM - with a picture. The second, with a picture, came in at 8.05 AM Eight minutes later BBC 5 Live had the first "media" tweet. 8:17 AM  the BBC wrote the first official story.
  • The Department of Health recognized the #wenurse hashtag community on Twitter as an influence on policy making.
  • Twitter has 10m active users in the UK, 200m globally.
  • In the UK 80% Twitter users access via mobile. In the US that's around 55%.
  • There are some UK TV programs for which 75% to 80% of Tweets come from mobile devices.
  • 95% of online public conversations are on Twitter, 60% of UK Twitter users use Twitter while watching TV and 40% of all Twitter traffic peak time is about TV (Source: SecondSync & Crimson Hexagon).
  • The value of conversations overtakes the value of the individual when its heard by a large audience

Analyse the Searcher Workflow from Intent through Engagement to Conversion
From +Jon Quinton

  • Begin by identifying the needs and intent of your audience
  • Find what people are asking for by researching Q&A sites (you can use Google Docs and xPath to automate and scale)
  • Measure multiple goals for your content
  • Monitor support tickets and customer feedback for sentiment

From +Crispin Sheridan

  • SAP has an annual revenue of €16.22 bn; central SEO team and PPC budget and their customers produce 72% of the world's beer.
  • Think about the "levers" you can control to improve the searcher experience; Title, URL, Snippet/Copy, site links, microformats and rich media, natural and paid search interplay, rank, etc.
  • Awareness -> Interest -> Consideration -> Purchase -> Retention -> Awareness
  • Don't let brand terminology determine content/keywords; use the terms searchers are using
  • SAP saw a 31.5% improvement in conversions from one page by changing a picture; making it more relevant to the searcher's intent.
  • SAP have lost about 27% of their natural search keywords to (not found) which makes understanding searcher intent more challenging.

Content-Driven SEO on a Shoestring

From +simon penson

  • What is content marketing? Lots of debate but what about "create targeted audiences of value with content"
  • You need both left brain and right brain people for content marketing; technical/analysts/seos as well as creative/copy
  • Create a process to ensure your technical/seo people get what they need from your creative/copy people.
  • Work through a magazine (some paper device) and understand their layout techniques, create your own "flatplan" 
  • Create personas and plan for each type.
  • Ensure "creative" covers  off every touch point; on-page, off-page and social.
  • Recommends Keyhole to find influencers and Buzzstream to organise
  • Use CognitiveSEO to find backlink data
  • Use Crawlytics to find most shared content
  • Use long term personas to build relationships
  • Always consider content amplification; even paid for stuff

From Catherine Toole

  • To be a successful publisher you need to embrace something of what publishing is about
  • Dell improved customer satisfaction by 10% by reorganising content
  • Get content ideas by collecting call centre feeedback
  • Sometimes anecdotal evidence  is lost in the analytics
  • Editorial ideas can be found in both negative and positive reviews
  • Journalists are lazy, says the ex-journalist, they want 5 things out of any interview
  • Catherine suggests that if  you're not an authority on a subject then don't write on that subject

Activating the Social-Search Dynamic
From +Bas van den Beld

  • The reason behind Google+ is to collect  our trust data. 
  • Google Now is a good example of serendipity
  • There are two types of authority; people around us and people we look up to
  • The rel=author relationship will be really important. It lends credibility to the search result.
  • It's too easy to game Klout. Stop looking at it.

From Nick Beck
  • Is this right; "Social search is the increased connection and overlap between searchengines  and social networks and the behaviours that their users share"? The big players can't seem the agree - Facebook has a very different approach from Bing, from Google, from LinkedIn, etc
  • Google wants to show timely news - so consider newjacking (and is it social search)
  • Use Facebook Notes to rank quickly and well.
  • Content is king for  SEO. Conversation is king for Social.
  • Authority is queen for SEO. Influence is queen for Social

Social Media, Meet ROI: The Secrets to Social Commerce
From +Krista LaRiviere

  • People are willing to invest  in social - even without ROI
  • Donaldson Brown credited with the first mention ROI in 1920. He worked for Dupont.
  • Brown used his ROI studies to compare dynamite to dye.
  • "Return on Impact" - Krista's method for understanding the value of Social
  • LaRiviere believes you can't do SEO without Social and Content; all three go together
  • gShift use unique short  URLs to help track the spread of content across social; used in conjunction with tracking code on site/landing page.

From +Aaron Kahlow

  • The big three trends  in 2013; Facebook, Video and Mobile
  • Facebook is responsible for 1 in every 5 page views
  • 71% of all internet users have made use of online video
  • By 2014 mobile use will over take desktop use
  • How it works: Fan Reach + Engagement + Amplification
  • 0.1% CTR for Display v 1% for Facebook
  • Cisco.com's users are twice as likely to engage on a page when it has video. They are 41% more likely to return to Cisco.com.
  • People are 10 times  more likely to share video on Facebook or Twitter (source: Unruly)
  • Tech-related videos are not restricted to work days; 27% of such videos are watched before office hours.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

More than 60 tips and takeaways from SES London, day 1

This year I thought I'd try sharing my tips and takeaways from the sessions I manage to attend at SES London.

Sometimes the value in conferences comes from those moments of insight and wisdom that pepper the presentations rather than the presentation in its entirety.  Of course, this doesn't mean the best presentations are the ones that produced the most bullet points. Some presentations just lend themselves more to sound bytes.

Beyond Engagement: Harnessing the Power of Social Media
From +Krista Neher

  • Have a plan for Engagement.. Success is finding the intersection between business  value and social traction. Social traction can be found without influencing sales at all and that’s not a success. 
  • Engagement has brand value. 
  • Architect interactions and sharing into content.
  • Try to create social proof - it has a multiplier effect. 
  • Facebook’s Graph Search makes engagement even more important. 
  • Target found that exposure to earned media on Facebook drove a 21% life  in online and offline purchases. 
  • MarketForce study; 80% are more likely to try new things based on friends’ suggestions. 

From +Heather Healy
  • Four keys to successful engagement
- Know what they want (how do you want us to interact with you?)
- Plan ahead (but be spontaneous too and expect the unexpected)
- Show real passion (and showcase other people’s passion)
- Give them sparkle

  • Use Hitwise to see the sites people visit before and after your site  in order to determine what your customers might want. 

Creative Content Marketing: Winning Hearts, Minds & Wallets
From +Lee Odden

  • +Econsultancy survey:
    • 70% would increase content marketing in 2013
    • 99% will maintain or increase content marketing in 2013
  • Content Marketing Myth 1: Content marketing simply means creating more content
  • Content Marketing Myth 2: Quality content is not sustainable
  • Content Marketing Myth 3: A content object only has one life
  • When your content is good enough you have the option of running ads on it
  • The optimise 360 model: attract -> engage -> convert 
  • Visualise trends with wordle.net
- Your own site
- Frontline staff
- Become a publisher
- Customer journey

  • Contenting marketing isn’t throwing out a bunch of blog posts each month; it’s architecting a story and narrative 
  • Use a hub and spoke model; the “content object” is the hub and the social networks are the spokes. 
  • Have a community in place before you need it 

  • All content must consider
- Findability
- Engagement
- Shareability
  • To stand out to customers and above the competition, brands must take a leadership position with their content marketing. 

The Age of Big Data: The Modern Marketer
From +Experian Hitwise

  • There are 15 petabytes created every day. That’s about 200 years of HD video created every day. 
  • Experian knows 500 things about 49 million people across 24 million households 
  • Onesies were the most searched for product this Christmas. Giraffe was the most popular. 12% of searches for "male Onesies"  
  • Searches for contact lenses spike in October; because of Halloween
  • Family travellers more likely to search for Dr Who 

From +Jon Myers

  • Marin Software has 3.96 billion keywords managed daily (42,000,000 operations per second, 182 TB of data managed) 
  • 1 in 3 clicks in US paid search will be mobile 
  • 1 in 3 searches will have local intent 
  • Google estimated mobile revenue for 2016 will be  $20.7 billion (Cowen and Company) 
  • Marin’s stats suggest tablet CPC £0.28 vs desktop £0.30 

How to Earn Visibility & Links Through Killer Content Strategy
From +Kevin Gibbons

  • Google knows what a good search bounce rate looks like
  • Google looks at multiple signals; data they didn't have years ago
  • A big signal is the writer's authority and influence
  • Clients have seen uplift in non-brand search after a TV campaign
  • Searchmetrics survey shows strong correlation between Facebook shares at ranking factors in the UK
  • One link is now longer bad but the client re-education process is really hard. 
  • SEO strategy is more important than ever. Content marketing alone might not benefit the SEO.
  • Give people a reason to talk/share/link
  • Be agile
  • For outreach results you need an audience
  • Send Google brand signals they can't ignore

From +Max Brockbank

  • Trust is the new black; one of the reasons rel=author is important
  • Write from your audience (one of many tips learned from newspapers)
  • Each new link from the same domain is 1/7th as powerful as the one before

SES London: Shifts in the Digital Revolution

Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer, Bing UK at Microsoft, had the morning keynote at SES London. There’s a great rule this year; must be new material. Of course, Bing’s vision of the future hasn’t changed just to suit the conferences need to reduce churn so I had heard Dave’s points before but this time was able to enjoy them from a different angle.

Bing likes to talk about the web of the world. This is about integrating insight from people, places and things. It’s about being helpful.

As you might expect from a Microsoft presentation there’s the usual bash at keyboards being ancient (look to the Kinect as an alternative, especially with growing rumours on how it’ll be tightly bound with the xbox 3) and how smart phones aren’t actually smart. After all, Microsoft really are well placed to do well with some fundamental digital shifts, especially in the battle for the living room, and they’d be daft not to be thinking about what the future will look like.



It was possible to take a message from Coplin’s vision that marketers and brands need to think about “the human”. More than once Dave asked why a busy person, on the move, would want to interact with your brand and suggested that they certainly wouldn’t want to experience a mobile screen scrape of your site.

In privacy the message was the same; the value transaction of collecting user data must be made explicit. People need to understand what they’ll get in exchange for providing personal information.

I’m not sure brands have forgotten “the human”, though. I can’t imagine any marketing department with a plan that ignores customers or any marketer who is completely unaware that their customers are people.

I think what’s missing is the ability to connect with people or understand what real people actually want and are doing. That’s not so much a problem with brands but with analytics and insights suppliers - including Microsoft.

Data is everywhere but it’s disconnected and messy. There’s no easy way to discover that x% of people on your site are there just to DM a URL to their partner. That data could be surfaced, if Microsoft or Apple took sweeping measures, but there would be the expected privacy backlash.

It seems to me that “don’t forget the human” is an appropriate message but it’s not much more than a common sense steer for brands but a fundamental challenge for technology suppliers in the digital marketing world.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Malware attack takes OpenX OnRamp offline and raises concerns for the future

I really like OpenX and have recommended the ad platform for years. I'm frustrated with OpenX today, though, for distributing malware, disabling all my ads and remaining quite about it.

Despite trying to attack my precious blog community with a virus and costing me money by killing the ad serving, OpenX are doing the right thing. The frustration comes from a lack of communication and a worry that the future of their self service OnRamp system is in doubt.

OpenX are doing the right thing because if your ad delivery system becomes a malware delivery system you have to shut it down.



OnRamp is a system which allows webmasters, bloggers running quality but niche sites, all the way up to businesses to manage their ad deployment. With OpenX site owners can target different geographical regions with different ads, produce automated reports for ad buyers, set frequently caps and otherwise run a professional ad funded site. This is all free.

Until this month OpenX had a number of ways to make money from this free service.

The first revenue model was OnRamp's integration with the OpenX market. This allowed site owners to set a pricing structure that let bidders come in, offer a high enough CPM and display their ads instead of the sites house ads. OpenX is part of the RTB and ad exchange world.

I found OpenX especially useful for the bloggers. Bloggers could produce house ads (such as follow me on Twitter badges) or, better still, drop in affiliate placements as default and then enjoy the natural evolution towards CPM as and when their blog grew.

This worked well for advertisers too because it was a scalable and cost effective way of advertising across lots of relatively small but high quality sites.

OpenX will change this set up this month. OnRamp users will no longer automatically be part of of the Marketplace. As an OnRamp user I know this is happening but I can't tell you why.

There are still ways in which OpenX can find value in running a free service like OnRamp without the market place.

The Ad Exchange could, should, be using the tech of their free ad delivery service to cookie drop and collect data. This is exactly the sort of data that will greatly improve their other services.

OpenX have significant market share in this area. I've twice been approached by their sales team to see whether my impressions total was far off the requirements for their managed, meatier, service. In other words, OnRamp allows OpenX to scoop up young and growing sites and gives the ad platform early access to these success stories.

The question is, of course, whether the benefits of running OnRamp for free outweighs the costs if OnRamp becomes the target of malware vendors.

It may well be that ring fencing the market place means OpenX can take a more robust approach to weeding out malicious ads, the usual tactic to trick a large ad network into distributing malware. That maybe so but this weekend's outage doesn't feel like a case of a few bad ads because the whole platform has been offline for a day.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see. OpenX competitors will be watching too.

Update: Oh dear, doesn't look good. A 4am update on the forums from OpenX;

OpenX’s security team is committed to the security of our services. OpenX OnRamp is a no-cost SaaS service based on our open source ad serving product (unlike our other enterprise grade offerings which run on a separate code base), which we have run as a free service to the community.

OnRamp has been the subject of escalating hacker activity in recent months, culminating in a serious attack that occurred Saturday, February 9, 2013. We have made the difficult decision to suspend the OnRamp service to protect our customers as we investigate the breach further and assess the ability of the OnRamp service to withstand future threats. At this time, we cannot predict when, or whether, the OnRamp system will be operational again.

We will post additional information in this forum as it is available. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused. Other OpenX services, including OpenX Enterprise and OpenX Market, continue to operate normally.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Google launch "Find your way to Oz"

If you pop into Google.co.uk you'll notice a link for "Find your way to Oz". This is a Chrome extension that acts as an interactive journey.

It's all about Sam Raimi's feature film "Oz The Great and Powerful" but is it an ad? Google says it's an inspired by the Disney film.



I think this is an ad - one for Chrome.

Multi Signal Search comes to Paid Search

I’ve advocated a multi signal approach to SEO. In past there had been a few key signals; links and perhaps title and h-tags but now SEO operates in a world of many signals.

Doing well in a multi signal search world doesn’t always mean “more signals” too. Sites, for example, that have lots of link signals but no social signals that help explain why links are appearing so quickly might be seen as suspicious.

Signals need to be balanced carefully.

Last night Google introduced Enhanced Campaigns to AdWords. It’s the biggest shakeup to Google’s core money making machine in years.

The reaction has been mixed. In fact, some people were so annoyed at the news that complaint blog posts were live before the embargo.

Yes, I think Google will make more money this way. There was certainly an attraction, in some cases, to avoid desktop campaigns at all and just bid on much cheaper mobile clicks. This post does not intend to join the echo chamber discussing why Google has made the changes they have. Let us look at what this means.

This means that the multi signal approach that already marks a good SEO campaign is now very much appropriate to paid search.

In fact, PPC has always had to deal with signals. Whereas Google talks about “quality signals” in patent applications and in their webmaster videos, the world of PPC have had a more transparent “Quality Score” system in their dashboards for years too.

The signals that impact quality score are still in place; relevancy, clickthrough rates, site speed, etc.

The signals that the world of “Enhanced Campaigns” bring to the fore are clearly marked by Google. They are; device, time of day and location.

These signals also need to be carefully balanced.

Someone online on their smartphone at 8:15am is likely to be a very different prospect than someone online via the smartphone at 9:15am. Why? I’d suggest the former is far more likely to be a commuter than the latter. Would you agree? Location signals would help add certainty.

Google’s Enhanced Campaigns mean that changes to the structures of accounts are necessary. Previously it was a good idea to structure your campaign to take full use of the difference between desktop and mobile campaigns but with Enhanced Campaigns that structure becomes redundant.

It may make more sense to structure accounts around signals. It certainly makes sense to think about paid search campaigns in terms of making the right decisions, adjusting price and copy, around the signals at hand.

Hopefully Google will make more signals visible and available for action. In particular, more important than device, time of day and location, are relationship signals.

An AdWords campaign in which we could adjust bids based on whether the searcher had already been to the site, had reached the checkout or even if the searcher had had Google+ interaction with the site before, would truly be an Enhanced Campaign.



Photograph by Ingy the Wingy.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Catching up on creativity

I found myself on a tweet journey this morning. A single tweet sparked a brief but worthy spurt of research and now I'd like to close the loop by blogging about it.

The tweet below comes from the academic Ken Robinson, an expert in education, but its through agency eyes I first found context for the observation.



Robinson is one of those awesome speakers who've have a worth-your-time TED video. Once again the intended context is education but there's a lot of overlap with how agencies and perhaps even clients think.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Google's new review SERPs

Google promised the FTC that it would stop taking data from sites like Yelp and incorporating the very same data back into their search results.

A change to the SERPs was expected. I wonder how many people thought Google would just give up on the review space?

Searches that end in [review], especially brand and location searches, now have a modified Google results interface. For example; [Malmaison Edinburgh Review].


It's hard not to notice the big Google+ Local box that dominates the page on the right. After the ads on the left, in the first position, is the brand. Is a brand+review search a navigational search? Would Tripadvisor or Yelp generally list ahead of a hotel previously?

In the sitelink position under the brand result there are three links; to Google's current collection of reviews, a price & booking widget that contains more ads and link to write a review.


It's not unsurprising that Google are trying harder to collect their own reviews now because they're less likely to stop using other peoples now.