YouTube sees 90% lift in searches for football highlight videos during the last year

In advance of this weekend’s Super Bowl LII game, YouTube has pulled together data around how people are watching — and searching for — sports-related video content on the site, and a few of the growth stats are quite remarkable.
There has been a 90 percent increase in searches for “football highlight” videos during the last year, YouTube reports. The company says that in addition to the rise in search activity, watch-time of sports highlight videos skyrocketed 80 percent between 2016 and 2017.
Watch-time growth of sports highlight videos on YouTube

Highlight videos were not the only sports-related content getting more views. Sports-related interview videos saw a 60 percent increase in watch-time, and funny sports video watch-time was up 50 percent.
YouTube reports 70 of the top 100 sports videos on its site have “great,” “greatest” or “best” in the videos’ titles.
Along with the rise in “football highlight” searches, YouTube found “how to” sports video searchers have doubled since 2016 and

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Survey: Smart speaker ownership steals time from smartphones, TV, radio

In a follow-up to mid-2017 research on US smart speaker ownership, NPR and Edison Research have released new findings indicating that nearly 40 million Americans now own the devices. That number is roughly double what it was in July 2017 and shows the impact of 2017 holiday sales on the market.
The new survey was conducted in two parts, online and by telephone, in November and then in late December. It reflects that satisfaction with these devices is high, and people are using them more frequently and gradually expanding the use cases. Another striking finding is that smart speaker ownership is impacting (read: decreasing) usage of other media and devices.

As one might expect, smart speakers tend to be placed in the living room and then the kitchen. Other research found that smart speaker ownership triggered smart home appliance and fixture purchases. In the NPR survey, a significant percentage (31 percent) of owners reported that they had “controlled household devices with

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Yext begins to verticalize local business listings syndication with ‘Yext for Food’

Business listings with more content see more engagement, tend to rank higher and perform better overall. And as more searches take place on mobile devices (and eventually smart speakers and virtual assistants), marketers will need to expose more local business attributes and enhanced data for discovery and competitive advantage.
According to previous Google research, 50 percent of smartphone users conducting local-intent searches visit business locations within 24 hours. These numbers are even higher and more immediate for restaurants, which often see searches translate into visits within a few hours or less.
TripAdvisor found that “Restaurants with hours of operation on their TripAdvisor listing see 36 percent more engagement than those without them.” Yelp reports, “Businesses who complete their profiles see, on average, 5x the customer leads each month.”
Both sites also point out the importance of images on profiles. TripAdvisor said restaurants with between 11 and 20 photos see “double the amount of diner interaction over others with no photos at all,”

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Amazon vs. search: Why you shouldn’t put too many eggs in one shopping basket

No matter where they’re located or what market they serve, retailers around the globe have questions about how consumers use search and Amazon.
At Bing (my employer), we’ve found that retailers — regardless of size — ask us about the same three things:

Where do consumers look for products online?
How do users behave differently on search vs. Amazon?
Can my search and Amazon channels benefit each other?

The answers are likely to surprise you.
The consumer decision journey looks incredibly complicated to us marketers with its interweaving between research, comparison, intent and transaction, but it feels far less complicated from the consumer point of view.
As consumers, we follow certain behavior patterns almost subconsciously:

If we have questions around what it is we need, or want more information before we make a selection, then it’s natural to turn to search.
If we know what we’re looking to buy, often we have a predefined preference for which retailer website to begin looking for it.

For many customers,

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Data: Consumers grow more demanding, impatient as brands fall behind

There’s considerable evidence that consumers are growing more impatient and less tolerant of poor or frustrating online experiences. There’s also increasing evidence that most brands aren’t keeping up with customers, creating significant risk and lost opportunities.
This gap is reflected in all the CX (consumer experience) research and reports coming out. There’s also a strong undercurrent of this theme in the Google “micro-moments” research and discussions. All the data about mobile page speeds and consumer abandonment support this idea:
The average U.S. retail mobile site loaded in 6.9 seconds in July 2016, but, according to the most recent data, 40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. And 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with site performance say they’re less likely to purchase from the same site again.
Most recently, Google said that geo-modifiers (e.g., ZIP codes) have declined by 30 percent, even as local search volumes have increased:
[D]emanding mobile users now assume

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Data: Google monthly search volume dwarfs rivals because of mobile advantage

In the past year, comScore has de-emphasized its search market share and mobile market share reports. Part of the reason is that the numbers don’t change that much anymore.
In addition, for reasons that remain mysterious, the measurement firm has declined to present a consolidated view of the search marketplace that includes both desktop and mobile. Mobile search is now both larger and, in many respects, more important than desktop search.
Below are the most recent comScore PC search market share and query volume figures for December 2016:

Across the board, desktop search queries are down vs. November. Google’s overall share remains basically stable at 63 percent (plus). Microsoft continues its slow growth on the PC, while the others continue their slow declines. It’s worth noting again that Bing powers search results for AOL, Yahoo, Siri + Spotlight search and Amazon, which is not reflected above.
On mobile devices it’s mostly a story about Google, however. According to data from StatCounter,

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Coaxing smarter paid search bidding decisions out of sparse conversion data

Paid search is an industry that’s grounded in data and statistics, but one that requires practitioners who can exercise a healthy dose of common sense and intuition in building and managing their programs. Trouble can arise, though, when our intuition runs counter to the stats and we don’t have the systems or safeguards in place to prevent a statistically unwise decision.
Should you pause or bid down that keyword?
Consider a keyword that has received 100 clicks but hasn’t produced any orders. Should the paid search manager pause or delete this keyword for not converting? It may seem like that should be plenty of volume to produce a single conversion, but the answer obviously depends on how well we expect the keyword to convert in the first place, and also on how aggressive we want to be in giving our keywords a chance to succeed.
If we assume that each click on a paid search ad is independent from the

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Billions served: PC search is down but query volume is way up for Google

Writing about search market share on the desktop is now a bit like writing about old cars. It’s sort of interesting but less and less relevant. For reasons that remain mysterious, comScore has neglected to provide a unified view of the search marketplace — despite the fact that likely between 55 and 60 percent of search queries now come from mobile devices.
July desktop search rankings in the US reflect the following distribution, according to comScore:

For comparison, the following are the comScore numbers from July 2015:

Google Sites — 64.0%
Microsoft Sites — 20.4%
Yahoo Sites — 12.7%
Ask Network — 1.8%
AOL — 1.2%

Essentially all parties have lost incremental share except for Bing, which has gained 1.5 points. Depending on your perspective, this could be spun as trivial or part of Bing’s long slow climb to meaningful desktop search market share.
PC query volumes peaked on the desktop in 2013. However, in mobile, Google commands roughly 94 percent of the market according to

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Can you manage your inventory with Google Shopping?

We are often asked by our clients if we can use Google Shopping or paid search to push particular products or product groups.
There are a number of reasons why they might want to do this. They might have high stock levels of a particular product; some ranges might be out of date, and they wish to sell off remaining stock; or perhaps a product is not selling as well as they had hoped, and they wish to boost the sales.
On the face of it, Google Shopping seems like a good platform for this task. Advertisers can pay more to increase the exposure of a particular product, rather than bid on keywords alone (as is the case with standard text ads). Hence, advertisers often believe Google Shopping is the ideal means to proactively manage inventory and stock levels.
However, behind this approach is the assumption that there is a direct relationship between what consumers search for and what they end up

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Report: search drives 10X more traffic to shopping sites than social media

Search is the single largest traffic driver to websites, according to SimilarWeb’s Global Search Marketing Report 2016. The findings are based on billions of site visits to a global sample of websites and reflect both mobile and desktop traffic.
The report is focused on a variety of metrics surrounding paid search. It also shows the breakdown of traffic from a broader range of sources. Below, for example, is the relative share of traffic from paid search and display advertising in a variety of shopping-related categories. As a general matter, paid search generates more traffic than display except in the “general merchandise” category.

Source: SimilarWeb Global Search Marketing Report 2016
 
What I find most interesting is that, in contrast to a number of bullish reports on the role of email and social media in shopping, the SimilarWeb data argue these channels drive only modest traffic compared to search. Unfortunately, the report doesn’t give any insight into which channels are most effective

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