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Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Gold Medal for Google. No surprise really.

So, here is a different take on the Olympics ....... and a decent piece of analysis to add to the contributions made by Colin Bates at Mobile Commerce over at mSearchGroove.

Colin's finding was that Yahoo! was the most effective mobile search engine, generating superior clickthrough from a smaller keyword list than Google. This is undeniably a truth, the result of Colin's control test. But it surprised me and did not match what I felt I had been seeing in our Mippin promotion. Our finding has consistently been that, though Yahoo! is more cost effective, it simply does not generate the volume that Google does.

For the Olympics, we created identical campaigns running on Google and Yahoo! in the US - our largest market and the home market for these two advertising marketplaces. Thus, if someone searched for a keyword we had defined they would stand a good chance of seeing a Mippin promotion inviting clickthrough to our collection of Olympics sites.

These two campaigns were exactly the same. We ran five different ad groups (athletes, sports and other related terms) beginning on the 8th August and ran this comparison after the first weekend.

Yahoo! did indeed generate the higher clickthrough, an impressive 4.4% with a quarter of those repeat using Mippin after that initial contact. A great result.

By contrast, Google could only contribute 0.64% clickthrough; though once interacting with Mippin, nearly a third of those came back again.

However, while Google's clickthrough was disappointing it really was a cut above Yahoo! in traffic generation. Google drove 76,000 impressions; nearly 12x the amount that Yahoo! contributed and as a result over-compensated for the lack of clickthrough.

The greater effectiveness of Google over Yahoo! is further demonstrated by the fact that though both campaigns were established with the same guideline cost per click, the actual performance showed Google driving 12x the volume with an average cost of 4c and Yahoo! contributing its volume at the pre-agreed 10c.

In fairness, the last point that Google is more cost effective in acquiring users is not something we see consistently in the US. But, the fact that it is capable of driving considerably more volume absolutely is.

Yahoo! might deliver better CPC but you cannot build a business using it (I'll qualify that with a "yet" and a "in our opinion"). Google by contrast just gets bigger and bigger and now dominates this space.

[You might wonder why we have not included an analysis of AdMob in this post. The reason is simple: for targeted campaigns you do have the ability to target those users interested exclusively in the Olympics as you do when responding to particular search queries on the topic. AdMob is a blind network and this is its Achilles Heel for targeted campaigns. For these specific campaigns, AdMob cannot match the cost of acquisition of either Yahoo! or Google.]

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